Ladies and gentlemen, people do strange things for fame. Some will quite happily tootle along with generic pop tunes that have a shelf life shorter than an M&S pre-packed lunch; others take their time, crafting their ‘art’ to make it that extra special, and to make sure they put their own stamp on it. However, there are those that haven’t quite got the right end of the stick, in fact, they’re often the ones who pick up the end with the dog poo on. It can be the result of careful – nay, over-thought – planning on how to achieve success, and trying to conform to an idealist approach to maximise audience appeal, rather than forging your own path and hoping for success, and ultimately, some kind of musical revolution.
Cue 10-year old (why isn’t she in school?) daughter of Will Smith, Willow Smith, and her hair-whipping, wig-stealing, alpha-female-esque new single, ‘Whip My Hair’. And whilst she’s got this hair-whipping, wig-stealing, alpha-female-esque new single, it’s clear she’s got a bit more, or at least she thinks she’s got a bit more.
Donning a look that makes her look like someone who’s just fallen into a pot of multi-coloured paint after raiding Claire’s Accessories’ entire collection of fake make-up and stick-on sequins, she’s quite a sight to behold, and not necessarily a good one at that. Looking at her is like being high, and watching one of her videos is one hell of a trip.
Willow Smith is, as I said before, an example of someone who’s manager and creative director has over-thought. WAY over-thought. Or at least, fabricated what they think people will want to listen to and hidden it under an ugly mask of a nine year old girl who’s doing it all wrong. The very fact she’s been shoved under our noses with a début single like this constitutes upset in the system of ‘The Ensexification’ (popstars who start young and scene, then, as they gradually get older, their image becomes more risqué, a bit more flesh is revealed, and the individual style of said artist is fully established by the age of sixteen), before poor Willow even shows signs of being a woman; she’s trying to do what Rihanna, Britney, and Alexandra do much better – not just because they are better, older, or naturally more flirtatious – because deep down in your gut, you get this slightly unnerving feeling that listening to a 9-year old girl talk about her swagger and how she’s “whips it like no other” is somehow a vague form of paedophilia.
The song shows typical signs of being produced by Jay-Z; it’s minimal in melody, and so the vocal riff has to be big – and it is – but it is also, quite frankly, maddening, and it cuts through your eardrums like a high-pitched drone. Whilst it boasts more confidence than Janice Dickinson on steroids and testosterone supplements, the sound of Donald Duck on helium singing those egotistical lyrics over and over and over again (“I whip my hair back and forth”) will grate before your first listen of the song is even over, although there are some rare moments of pure A-Grade irony, like when little Willow sings about “Pullin’ up in her car” (mega lolz, obv.) and “All ma ladies if you feel me”. Darling, YOU ARE TEN.
Some say she’s the male Justin Bieber, starting young and garnering a huge online fanbase within weeks, plus support from many big name producers and artists alike. However, I believe Willow’s voice, whilst being five years Justin’s inferior, is still much deeper than his own. Someone give those balls a good tug, please. Anyone?
Oh dear Lord, here comes that trip again. What is the point of the sequins? I mean seriously: the fake eyelashes, the garish colour schemes, that hair and those ridiculous dancers just make this something that’s more painful to watch than the song is to listen to.
‘Whip My Hair’ is annoying. VERY annoying. And I know there’s times when “annoying” is good, because there’s a decent song-writer who’s put a cleverly hidden connotations under the lyrics (see: Ed Drewett, Lily Allen, Mika, Amy MacDonald), but unfortunately Willow has overbalanced the annoying and forgot to add substance. Even if this single is basically to put her on the map and introduce who she is, I fail to see any charm within it’s plastic production, ridiculous lyrics and overproduced vocals.
Rating: 1.5 STARS
Download: December 6, 2010 (OUT NOW)
Featured Album: TBA