Slamming social media has been a bit of a fixture of media over the past few years. News, film, and music have all come out with various ways of demonizing sites like Instagram for their harmful effect on people’s mental wellbeing. They have a point, but frequently its either shown as a parody taken way above any sort of relatable reality, voiced patronizingly or ‘boomerish’. Now, however, I have found a voice that critiques from a perspective I imagine young people can get behind. It’s deadpan, it’s over analysed by middle-aged people in youtube comments, and it’s a BOP.
Mostly though, its ‘Internet Religion’ by the new kid on the block Baby Queen.
I’ll start by briefly discussing the video, what with me oh so kindly embedding it there for you. I’m too young to have been on myspace, but I imagine this is what it would be like if Vine was run by Bill Wurtz. Bad greenscreen, gifs from about 2005, clipped viral dog videos, and Instagram stickers create a pretty chaotic visual display. It’s a deluge of internet-y weird stuff that absolutely fits the tone and I love it. Oh, and then throw in outfits that for the most part seem inspired by Courtney Love while in Hole. Were I a better journalist I’d find a photo. If you can find me a better home-made mid quarantine music video, you get a prize. Not sure what, but definitely probably maybe something.
Musically, it’s what I think indie pop should be. Forget that floaty, boring, stripped back rubbish that dominates the genre. The ethereal synths that open here have more energy than most albums I find in indie on Bandcamp, which wouldn’t be saying much apart from the fact that they’re ethereal synths. That’s probably more a reflection on the general state of music, but that shouldn’t take away from the track at all. Even better, when you get to the first chorus there’s… guitars? Peppy, near-rock drum fills? A hint of distortion? It’s weird to me that such traditional elements feel brave nowadays, but here we are. Between the slightly vibey guitars through the last few choruses and a lot of the outfits we’re feeling very 90s, and I’m here for it. Overall, there’s just a bit of attitude and bite to the sound that I’ve missed in music that’s similarly genred and themed.
Lyrically, this is a masterpiece, admittedly by the standards of someone who doesn’t focus overmuch on lyrics and is speaking out their ass… *ahem*. Baby Queen is blunt, deadpan, and incredibly relatable (have I already said that?) here. The vocal performance hits exactly the right tone, somewhere between young person apathy and having a damn good time. There’s some natural roughness, bits that sound like they could’ve been recorded through a harmonica microphone, and it absolutely fits the tone of veering towards grungy pop.
Now the lyrics that I only mentioned 60 words ago and then got distracted. They’re what we call a big mood. It’s hitting hard out the gate. Line two pulls its punches like Mike Tyson, that is to say not in the slightest – ‘It doesn’t happen to you so why give a fuck’ seems like the world’s mantra 97% of the time. We all wanted justice for George Floyd, but my social media feed is mostly back to ‘normal’ despite above average rates of police shootings in America ever since. I’m in no way innocent of this either, let’s be honest. After all, it doesn’t happen to me (Martin Niemoller is on the phone to me as we s̶p̶e̶a̶k̶ write). The bridge hits similarly; ‘I’m done saving the world so look at these cool shoes, take a look at me, me, me!’.
But honestly, my glittery DMs are really cool.
The middle eight hits in a less accusatory manner but is no less relatable. ‘I like me better when I’m online’ is a big oof but damn if it isn’t true. If my life was just all gigs and holidays like Instagram suggests then I probably wouldn’t be writing this. It really is a self-indulgent display of the best parts of my life, but it’s nice to look back on I guess so whatever (this attitude probably isn’t the point). Baby Queen is right, this really is my ego’s exhibition, and if you’re interested, my Instagram is @F15hface.
All I can really say to wrap this up is go and listen to this, and then party to it with all of your equally depressed friends and feel seen, or something. Maybe also learn the lyrics from the equally 2000’s partner to the music video so you can show off your karaoke skills on your stories. Or don’t. Also, go and listen to Baby Queen’s more recent single, Buzzkill, which to me has a vibe like some earlyish Girli, though admittedly not as heavy. Like cross in some also early Lorde or something.