Wasting Time with Bryce Vine

WARNING! This is a post about a couple hip-hop songs, so there’s some profanity.

The most depressing song on the radio today (in my not so humble opinion) is not supposed to be depressing. Bryce Vine’s “La La Land” (featuring YG) is supposed to be carefree, about doing nothing and having fun, while using some of the typical rap/hip-hop cliches: brand name dropping and bragging about sleeping with gorgeous women.

The song describes a girl who’s fresh out of school and has worthwhile goals, but the song’s narrator wants her to waste time with him (in California, of all places). I’m not sure I’d want to waste time in California because it’s highly expensive and the politics don’t make sense (but what politics do?). Maybe wasting time in Tennessee would be a better idea, and it’s more alliterative.

I know I’m taking this too seriously, but the song is depressing because it almost seems predatory; the guy only wants to drag the girl down and get her to lose track of school, work, and her future. He only wants her for her money (e.g., “How big is your mansion?” and “…you were born in the Hamptons / I heard that’s expensive”) and of course, sex, because it wouldn’t be a hip-hop song without explicit sexual references.

He tries to convince her that he’s a decent guy (“My grass is greener, girl, without no snakes”), but that’s a double negative, so I guess he’s just as slimy and reptilian as the rest of the guys. As evidenced by the lyrics, she has just broken up with her boyfriend, so he wants to catch her while she’s vulnerable. What a gentleman!

Or it could simply be that Bryce Vine’s voice is depressing. It’s like he’s trying to take the same chill approach that Post Malone (successfully) uses, but he just comes off as downcast.

Bryce Vine’s other song, the equally depressing “Drew Barrymore,” is similar. He is so involved with the girl that the entire house (apartment? condo? mansion?) is falling apart around his ankles (“The TV hasn’t worked in ages / Probably got a shorted cable / Way too busy f**king on the sofa or the kitchen table”). But he doesn’t even really seem to like the girl, because he delivers the following lines so dismally that I’m wondering if he might just give in to the opinion of the other girls and relinquish her: “You’re the next Drew Barry… and I want more / And all the other girls keep wondering what I f**k with you for.”

The beat of the song itself doesn’t have much of a happy feel to it either. It just kind of… ends… and leaves me with a creepy feeling of foreboding, like I’m going to go home and find out that my husband has disappeared mysteriously, leaving me with nothing but an empty apartment with a broken TV and A/C unit, with a couple dust bunnies hanging around to taunt me over some offense I had no idea I committed.

On the bright side, the radio edit of Drew Barrymore is actually better lyrically: “…falling off the sofa or the kitchen table.” Reminds me of innocent times spent as a child, running around the house and bouncing off the furniture because you’ve got energy to burn and school’s out for the summer. Also, smashing into furniture would be a lot more fun than wasting time with Bryce Vine.

Fun with Pronouns

The latest earworm to hit the radio waves is “ME!” by Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie.* When I heard it, the first word that popped into my head was “juvenile,” which is fine. After all, it is a song for the youth (but… Taylor, you ain’t that young anymore, sorry). And it’s teaching them pronouns! The self-absorbed, narcissistic lyrics include the following:

Hey, kids!
Spelling is fun!
Girl, there ain’t no I in “team”
But you know there is a “me”

And you can’t spell “awesome” without “me”

“ME!” by Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie

Just like Gwen Stefani did with “Hollaback Girl” (another fun but similarly asinine song) in 2005, pop stars are going to teach us spelling, too! How kind of them. Technically, you can get “me” out of “team,” but you have to rearrange the letters.

Actually, the whole thing kind of reminds me of one of those motivational posters you see in school classrooms or workplaces. Well, if that’s what motivates you…

*I had no idea who Brendon Urie was. Then I found out he was the lead singer of Panic! At The Disco, which is the same thing as Fall Out Boy. (Seriously, listen to them. They sound exactly the same.)

Head Above Water

You typically can’t expect much depth from pop stars, but one would hope that Avril Lavigne has matured from her days as a tomboy back in 2002, and judging by her new song, “Head Above Water,” it seems that she has. Or maybe it was the near-death experience that finally did the trick. Miss Lavigne had been greatly suffering from Lyme disease, and in the midst of her deepest pain, she composed the song, in which she cries to God to “keep her head above water.”

The old saying “there are no atheists in foxholes” came to mind when I first heard the song. In the midst of great pain or anguish, many turn to God even when they had previously forsaken him or had never believed in him in the first place. I suppose Avril Lavigne is one of these. I don’t expect her to return to the Christian faith of her roots, but you never know (and you can always hope).

I find it amusing that the news outlets are calling “Head Above Water” a worship song, and to me, it is. If this was Lavigne’s very first single, everyone would be calling her a Christian artist and they’d sell her album in Christian bookstores, like they did with Evanescence’s first album.

But Avril Lavigne herself may not see the song that way—but rather as a pop ballad or an anthem to show strength in a difficult time. At the very end of the music video is a message about Lyme disease and the URL of Lavigne’s anti-Lyme foundation website. So it appears to be the song used to market her cause.

Either way, I really like the song, and it’s a nice departure from the junk on Top 40, which reminds me, now that I think of it, that I haven’t heard Lavigne’s song on the radio at all. I wonder why. Perhaps it’s because the teenagers who listen to Top 40 were very young or not even born when she was most popular, so they might not know who she is. That’s a scary thought.