Referencing popular technology in music is nothing new -- the Dire Straits hit "Money for Nothing" was all about MTV and the advent of music videos, and David Bowie's "Space Oddity" wove a narrative around the space race. Unsurprisingly, countless artists began inserting the Internet into their songs after it exploded into the mainstream in the '90s. But there's a fine line between "artful inclusion" and "unskilled name-dropping," and the following songs dove headfirst into the latter, awkwardly revealing that on the whole, pop stars simply do not use computers.
How else could they explain ...
#6. Black Eyed Peas: "Now Generation"
Fergie and her three rapper chaperones (rapperones?) should already be quite familiar to readers of Cracked. In an attempt to stay relevant, they released the song "Now Generation," an ode to the life that young people are living right now, a phrase which here means "several dozen techno-buzzwords that will.i.am looked up on his iPhone on the way to the studio":
Stay connected in a jet
Blasting out an SMS
Text me and I text you back
Check me on the iChat
I'm all about that h-t-t-p
You're a PC, I'm a Mac.
"Wait, stay like that for a sec. I need to pull some lyrics out of there."
Myspace in your space
Facebook is a new place
Dip divin', socializin'
I'll be out in cyberspace
Google is my professor
Checkin' my account
Loggin' in and loggin' out.
"Doing great. Now add something about 'surfing the Web.' Kids still say that, right?"
As you see, we're treated to a Tourette-like stream of everything related to the Internet, including some words that he clearly doesn't understand (will.i.am's humbling knowledge of podcasts consists of listing it alongside Wi-Fi and moving on to the next verse). He also says "blasting out an SMS" before solemnly promising "text me and I text you back," which seems to indicate that he is not aware that SMS and text messaging are the same thing.
Then, the Peas toss out a blazingly topical reference to those PC and Mac commercials with Justin Long and John Hodgman, which you may recognize as already being three years old by the time the song was released. This leads triumphantly into the lyric "Myspace in your space, Facebook is a new place," which was inexplicably written in the year 2009. Facebook was not "new" by any means -- Mark Zuckerberg had already teamed up with Justin Timberlake and taken over the social networking universe, and Myspace was that place you went to listen to Jason Mraz remixes posted by some lunatic in Connecticut and get made fun of for not being on Facebook yet.
Here he is, ironically, singing "Fuck Your Pussy Myspace Page."
The Peas were clearly attempting to write a big, epic anthem for the digital generation, but they just came across sounding like middle-aged parents trying to relate to their teenagers. Can you picture your mom bragging that she's "all about that h-t-t-p"? Of course you can't, because not even she is that lame.
#5. Trey Songz, Gucci Mane, and Soulja Boy: "LOL :-)"
Yes, "LOL :-)" is the actual title, which is reinforced by no less than 35 utterances throughout the song (keep in mind that it took three lyrical geniuses to come up with this masterpiece). This is not to say that this boner-texting sonnet begins and ends with LOL -- we are absolutely bludgeoned to death with Twitter references and obnoxious narration of the use of bizarrely outdated technology:
Then she sent a text that read, "Baby, I'm at home"
Then she sent another one that said she's all alone
So I texted her a smiley face and said, "Let's do the grown"
She said, "LOL boy you crazy, come on"
Then she said, "Actually, you ain't gotta ask me"
Sent that little face with the tongue 'cause I'm nasty.
Sorry, but we have to censor that smiley. It's way too nasty.
Baby girl sent a picture to my BlackBerry
She fine and she thick just like Halle Berry
Kiss me through the phone, LOL smiley face
We can go and kick it babe, later on at my place
She message me on Myspace, told me she love me.
Soulja Boy may be the worst offender of them all, which is unsurprising considering everything he's ever been a part of. In a song released in 2009, he's telling us all about getting "picture messages" on his BlackBerry and trolling Myspace for girls. You may recognize these as activities people engaged in when Dane Cook was still relevant. It sounds like a 70-year-old man with a child's vocabulary getting excited over finally discovering how email works.
"It's that easy to post my sex tapes? And here I was dropping them in mailboxes like a fool."
Sadly, this trio of bards is not done impressing you. They brag about "pics on my iPhone/Gucci on her iPod," rhyme the word "berry" with itself, and unleash "do the grown" as a euphemism for sex as if it's a storied old favorite, even though no one outside of these barely literate millionaires has ever encountered it in the history of the English language.
The lyrics in that first passage seem to be a cautionary tale on stalker assistance via the careless use of social networking, as the girl in question offers up both her location and the fact that she is completely alone to a man who's begging her for sex. He also confuses the "tongue smiley" emoticon as a binding sexual contract, despite the fact that it is typically used by teenage girls to let you know when they are being adorably irreverent.
"No, don't do the tongue smiley! He'll think you want to lick his asshole!"
#4. Grafh: "Myspace Jumpoff"
Grafh, best known for being endorsed by Shia LaBeouf on Last Call With Carson Daly (and truly, there are no two people closer to the pulse of hip-hop culture), released this 2006 ballad about meeting a woman online and clumsily trying to berate her into having sex with him in real life:
So you sent me a text and I replied yes I may (amen)
Now I read that text
It said somethin' somethin' somethin' somethin' sex
That's the only words that I remembered in the text.
"No, seriously, I'm extraordinarily fucking stupid."
But now I'm looking for some friends to add
Text me baby send me a ?
But if you wanna hop on you can log on to my balls like my drawers got a dot com.
The song goes back and forth between presenting Grafh as a trend-savvy dude well-versed in the latest technology and as a temporally displaced caveman who doesn't understand how something as small as a cellphone can hold the witches that are obviously powering it.
"Why it show letters at my face-eyes?"
He is apparently so enchanted by the idea of text messaging that he believes it to be proof of some higher power, and offers a solemn prayer to the heavens after receiving one from the future missing persons report he's currently pursuing. At the same time, he is so bored with texting that he nonchalantly brags about not even reading the message in its entirety, saying that he just skimmed it until he saw the word "sex." Beyond the fact that this is one of the most bracing contradictions ever delivered in such rapid succession, it's also kind of like telling a girl that you don't follow the news, you just speed-read USA Today for the words "nipple" and "smother."
Grafh then goes on to mention Myspace way too often to convince us that he's ever actually used the damn thing, and constantly confuses social networking with text messaging. He seems unclear about whether putting someone's number in your phone qualifies as "adding a friend" and if getting a message on Myspace is called "texting."
"Can you text my name in there? I forgot my online passcode."
But of course, all of this is just leading up to "log on to my balls like my drawers got a dot com," which is a sentence that reads exactly like an Internet-themed Mad Libs puzzle and makes the exact same amount of sense. We get that his point is "I want to have sex with you," but it's shoehorned into one of the most awkward punchlines in history. Innuendo is rarely clever, but it seems like Grafh just picked two random phrases from a mid-'90s article about AOL and made them about his nutsack. He might as well have said, "I'm going to double-click your vagina and download in my pants."