“Sounds like a sorry mess of a song that tries to be pop, rock, hip-hop and dance, all held together by the notion of how uniformly bad it is”
Digital Release: February 26, 2012
Physical Release: N/A
You know, it’s hard to imagine anyone in today’s music scene who matches Dappy for the utter bellend he is. The Ting Tings might be worthy contenders, but for his visceral contributions to the reduction of what would otherwise be solid pop tunes to smouldering piles of shit, Dappy trumps the feckless indie duo. Dappy seems discontent with how he’s presented amongst onlookers of his newfound fame in coffee-shop chit chat and playground conversation, hence his last single ‘No Regrets’. But ever since he branched into a solo career he’s displayed an enthusiasm akin to an annoying little Jack Russell puppy, sniffing vigorously wherever his nose takes him for a mic stand; any possible chance to chirp about the man he’s finally realised he wants to be, and expecting all heads within earshot to turn towards him like the baying, adulating fans he dreams of. In reality of course, his rapping elicits a very similar outcome, only with the people looking at him forming a circle with one hand and waving it backwards and forwards in his general direction.
Nevertheless, and unfortunately undeterred, it seems he’s still discontent with his inadequate portrayal of himself on his last single ‘No Regrets’ – a song that made chavs everywhere feel slightly better about their past transgressions – he’s now onto ‘Rockstar’ and shouting about the fame he’s about to be propelled into, rather than actually getting on with it. ‘Rockstar’ is a sort of preparatory song then; it doesn’t cut much mustard as anything else, most certainly not a rock song. Perhaps a quarter of a century ago when a solo from Brian May was actually worth listening to this could hold some ground due to his attachment with peak-era Queen, but now this just sounds like a sorry mess of a song that tries to be pop, rock, hip-hop and dance, all held together by the notion of how uniformly bad it is.
One thing Dappy forgot to bring out of the remnants of N-Dubz (R.I.P.) was actually having a music style. Regardless of the quality (or lack of) that any N-Dubz hit had, it neatly conformed to it’s genre without a quandary – you wouldn’t guess it was sung by a group of London teenagers. But on his new material there’s no such indicator. This might be useful in deciding who he’s going to be from this point on because how on Earth does who know who he is if his music doesn’t have a style etc., etc., etc. Right now he’s exercising more an image recalibration than giving any inkling about the musical pocket he wants to occupy (other than the Fat Cat Bonus Bucket labelled “Chart Music”; and therefore is relegated, by default, to expire around the time the next Adele album seeps out of the woodwork).
There are many problems with this song. And addressing each one in turn is a waste of time because, looking down his nose at you from the single cover is a man who’s approach to music just isn’t worth the time. ‘Rockstar’ is a strange song; the sort that throws up a question of it’s own validity as either a genuine single or a novelty single. After all, there must be only a few brains possessing such a low number of brain cells to think that the silhouetted image of a scrawny, under-developed teenager wearing an amusing hat surrounded by dry ice is an imposing one. Real rock stars championed both image and sound in ways he couldn’t image – quite literally in fact, as he wasn’t even born by the time the most prolific stadium rock era had died out. Admittedly, it’s a wild guess that stadium rock is the kind of rock Dappy’s going for here, which also doubles up as a somewhat half-hearted attempt on my part to rationalise the otherwise bewilderingly irrelevant presence of May. It’s a little disconcerting to see Dappy take this charade seriously, as his whole misconception of what a real “Rock Star” is like is skewed beyond repair, sort of like his moustache. According to him, being a rock-star includes a humiliatingly flippant mix of getting impromptu tattoos, smoking bright red plastic bongs, and performing air guitar with the mobile dexterity of an Emperor Penguin.
Suffice to say, this is gruellingly embarrassing stuff. Listening to Dappy take himself seriously stirs up a frustration similar to enduring Nyan cat’s 10-hour flight through space, or listening to Jason Derülo singing the hits of Bruce Springsteen in slow-motion. By the end, you feel slightly dead on the inside, knowing that somewhere along the line, the line ended, allowing for such musical atrocities as this to step over it and further irreversibly blacken the state of UK chart music with such a pointlessly cold and random experiment that should never have made it out of the studio it was recorded in.