Why Iggy Azalea is the artist of the year

Eric Garland Culture Trends 3 Comments

I was possibly going to write about how Dick Cheney should be arrested, jammed into a straitjacket, and sent to The Hague without any of his forty-five heart medications, but instead I shall explain why Iggy Azalea is the most important musical artist of 2014.

YouTube tells me that 389,794,373 people have viewed the video for “Fancy,” which for me is the song that best exemplifies this vertiginous circus freak of a year. If you haven’t seen this video, it’s required study material for your degree in 21st Century American Anthropology. Frankly, I’m obsessed with this song.

Don’t get me wrong – in no way does Iggy Azalea represent the height of musical excellence in 2014; that would be Snarky Puppy. And in no way is she the best pop artist; that would be WEIRD AL YANKOVIC in his fourth decade, my friends, or Lorde or Taylor Swift, if you don’t like humor. Nor is she the most relevant hip hop artist; St. Louis rapper Tef Poe will have that slot, maybe for the next twenty years. And yet Azalea is still at the head of the pack as far as 2014’s icon is concerned.

So have you watched/heard “Fancy” yet? Good. Now we can discuss why this piece is so very amazing and emblematic. First, the beat is pretty killin’, and it’s centered around a fat bass line, which is always a way to my heart. The production values could not be better, either the video (by Director X) or the audio (by The Invisible Men.) Second, not a goddamn thing in this whole production makes a lick of sense, which is why it is perfect for 2014.

Iggy Azalea was born Amethyst Amelia Kelly in Mullembimby, New South Wales, Australia. That a woman already called “Amethyst Amelia” would need a stage name is already sublime. Also, the notion of a white girl from Australia conquering hip hop requires some serious, pharmaceutical-grade hallucinogens. I mean, if Chuck D said that hip-hop was “headline news for black people,” then she is “US Weekly for people who already like US Weekly.”

Regarding the song, “Fancy”: it is pristine in its dadaist, absurdist exploration of the universe. Each single word means not a single blessed thing, and together forms a shining, insane bunch of extraordinarily palatable gibberish.

“First thing’s first, I’m the realest.
Drop this and let the whole world feel it
And I’m still in the Murda Bizness
I could hold you down, like I’m givin’ lessons in physics”

This is an authentic woman (an Australian who puts on the locution of a 55-year old black female from Brooklyn) who also is possibly an assassin and/or ready to lecture on Newtonian mechanics. I assume that rappers eschew Leibniz and anything that smacks of quantum field theory.

The chorus goes:

“I’m so fancy
You already know
I’m in the fast lane
From L.A. to Tokyo”

An assassin who specialized in Newtonian physics would be pretty fancy, yes, but my favorite bit is the “fast lane from L.A. to Tokyo.” You know what’s between California and Japan? THE PACIFIC OCEAN. There are no highways. But that makes this more perfect, because we’re in a Salvador Dali painting as it stands.

The video could not be better, because it’s based around the 1995 film “Clueless.” So the people in the video are dressed like the people in Clueless, and Ms. Azalea is dressed as the main character. She was five when this movie debuted. I was born in 1974, and I was her age in 1998, so I’m trying to imagine how many videos in 1998 were trying to remake Kramer vs. Kramer or Rocky 2 or The Muppet Movie. I’m coming up blank.

The song features Charlie XCX, which is Latin for Charlie 90 + 10, which is 100, or something. She was born Charlotte Emma Aithchison, which actually sounds like a real name, though Wikipedia lists her as a proponent of “pop punk, indietronica, synthpunk, dark pop, electropop, and witch house,” none of which I understand, and all of which make me feel all of my forty years. Anyhow, she sings some stuff, and by “sing,” I mean that I’ve seen a brunette ostensibly from England on a video in the same moment that I hear a vocal track that is accompanied by fourteen background voices, seventeens supercomputers calculating “autotune,” and a very careful facsimile of Gwen Stefani.

And yet, I’ve watched this damn video dozens of times. It’s mesmerizing. It’s complete and utter bullshit. It’s pleasureable. It’s the vocal-hip-hoppy music thing of 2014.

I think that you should listen to this song TODAY, download it, buy the album, and then prosecute Dick Cheney for war crimes.