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April 18, 2007

Exploring Clique's secret places

cliquewall1.jpg The girls of Clique may flirt chastely on MySpace, but so far they have resisted entreaties to unfold the delicate petals of their official web site. Fortunately, as Melanie Martinez taught us, it doesn't count if you slip in through the back door.

So what can we learn from the hidden home of Ariel, Destinee and Paris? (It's annoying, but one must use their names in every post or else Googlers will never find it. One thing Brian Lukow got right was the importance of choosing a name that will top search results right off the bat.) Well for starters, these girls love to have their pictures taken. Or at least, Sal Dupree loves to take their pictures. Seriously, one page of photos would probably be sufficient. (There is some evidence that Cousin Dupree is not actually the mastermind behind Clique, but for my purposes he'll do; more on that later.)

In the bio, there is some information that got taken out of the MySpace version, most notably that before Clique, Ariel Moore and Destinee Monroe were in a "girl pop singing group" with "another young girl from Connecticut." Anyone with details on this proto-Clique is requested to please pass them on.

But let's cut to the chase. If you leave the bio page open for a few minutes — or you may have to click on the MTV Overdrive link and then wait — you'll be treated to samples of several previously unheard Clique songs. I think these girls have recorded more songs than Huckapoo did in their entire career (and released just as many albums!). Admittedly, some of these are half-assed ballads, but the opening track is an insanely infectious dance number that deserves to go straight to the top of the pop tart charts. Go ahead and check it out, you will not be able to get it out of your head.

That said, the song's lyrics raise some important questions, which I will address after the jump. Join me there. It'll be fun. As an enticement, there's a photo of Destinee looking totally metal.

destineecar.jpg

The problem with this song is not, as you might initially think, the bridge. That's the part where the nine, 11 and 12 year old girls sing, "There's something 'bout them boys that makes me..." with the sound of panting finishing the line. I have no concerns about that. That's fucking perfect.

No, my concern is with the earworm chorus: "Hey mother, mother, can I have a dollar/So I can go to the party where them boys they pop they collars."

(I can't find the title of this song anywhere, but I think it's a safe bet that it's The Ballad of the Party Where Them Boys They Pop They Collars.)

On the surface this chorus seems perfectly sensible, but I'd like to ask the Cliquettes some questions if I may.

Why exactly do you need the dollar? Are they charging admission to this party? Nobody charges for a party unless they're serving alcohol, and two of you are too young to be drinking. Besides, even when there is a charge, cute girls never pay. That's a party rule.

Is the dollar for transportation to the party? If so, are you taking a mule? You can't even buy a metrocard for a dollar, much less hail a taxi.

Don't you get an allowance? Do you get paid for any of those Radio Disney gigs? How hard is it to manage your money so that when there's an important party, you have four quarters saved up without having to ask your mom. Also, by the time you reach nine, you should know that "so I can go to the party" is not going to get you anywhere with the parental units. Next time try, "Hey mother, mother, I'm going to the party where them boys they pop they collars. I'll be home by ten, but sometimes some of the older kids drink wine coolers and I'm worried about getting a ride home with them. Can I have seven dollars for a car service if I need it?" And, yes, ask for seven. She'll give you 10.

This isn't a question, but: you don't want to go to a party with boys who pop they collars. Popping collars is totally gay. Popping collars was what losers who thought they were cool did back in 1984. Is this party taking place in 1984? That might explain why the subway only costs a dollar.

Come to think of it, you didn't say you wanted to go to a party "with them boys who pop they collars," but rather "where them boys they pop they collars," suggesting that collar popping is to be some kind of party activity. This is really not a party you want to go to. Acceptable party activities for kids your age include baking brownies, watching R-rated horror movies (violence only, no nudity), playing spin the bottle (no tongue), filming yourself dancing around in your underwear for YouTube, and getting drunk on wine coolers. Collar popping? No.

I'm also uncomfortable with the suggestion that the boys will be the center of attention at this party, with the girls' only role to sit there and admire them while they pop they collars. This seems at odds with your mission statement, "to be roll models for this generation helping to create future leaders through our positive music and confident attitude." Every aspiring girl pop star should know that girls will never be leaders until they can make themselves the center of attention at parties. These boys should be paying you a dollar to watch you pop your collars. Or, better yet, to watch you pop each other's collars. While filming it for YouTube. That's empowerment.

Next week, we'll work on grammar.

[More about Clique]

Posted by Daniel Radosh

Comments

Geez... they can't even spell "role models" correctly.

That's how they role.

It's all Clique, all the time, at Radosh now.

Hucka-who?

Exactly!

These boys should be paying you a dollar to watch you pop your collars.

I think you meant, "to watch you pop you collars."

Other than that I have no quibbles. Takes me back to the first Huckapoo post. Please use bullets more often. You know, the good kind.

I'm glad someone appreciates me. True, I'd prefer it was my wife, but whatevs.

I'm sure your wife has a few quibbles with who you appreciate, as well. Just guessing here.

That's my point. At least she was big enough to admit that The Girl Who Rules the World rocks.

I noticed the popped collar line immediately but paused just long enough to read your post first. I'm not sure I'm aware of popped collars making their presence known in pop music (explicitly) prior to now. It disturbs me.

Hi Guys,
Thanks for all your interest in Clique. Perhaps we can arrange a proper interview so we can get everything straight for the record. Please don't blame these lovely young ladies, blame the parents. We were just trying to help the girls find there style of music and unfortunately we did that with the resources available at the time. I did not even know that song was available since we have removed it from the site. We appreciate your interest but please try to be nice, the girls are really trying to express themselves as artist and are very happy people. Let's keep things positive and try to encourage them not put them down. It takes courage to do what they do. Let's try to build people up and not try to bring them down as they follow their dreams. I understand you are just trying to have fun but fun is not fun when you are hurting people who are just trying to make people happy!

Lenore,

Thanks for writing. Believe it or not, this IS me being nice. I mean, I made fun of the song's lyrics (which I know the girls didn't write) but I also said (honestly) that it's "insanely infectious." I will be genuinely disappointed if I never get to hear it again. Pop songs are supposed to be ridiculous, as far as I'm concerned. The important thing is that the girls knocked it out of the park.

By the way, last night my three year old twins were dancing their butts off to The Girl Who Rules the World, and they have very discriminating tastes.

What I'm saying is (just between us), I really dig this group and I wish the girls nothing but happiness and, if it's what they want, success.

But here's the thing: I write a blog for adults, and while I'm not going to be intentionally mean to these girls, I'm also not going to tailor my writing to the sensibilities of 10 year olds. Girls, if you're reading this, you'll have to trust that while my sense of humor is sometimes a little twisted, I mean no offense. I sometimes make fun of stuff that I like, I sometimes pretend to like stuff that I think is dumb, and I sometimes exaggerate the truth for comic effect. You may have to read carefully to figure out what I really mean, but that's a skill worth developing anyway.

Also, I'm sure you know that kids your age are WAY meaner than adults can ever be, so if you really want to follow this dream, you should brace yourself for genuine cruelty. Don't worry, I'll have your back.

As for an interview... I am tremendously tempted, but way too busy. Besides, after the Huckapoo fiasco, I think it will be a long time before anybody pays me to write about a pop group before they're actually famous (although I'm CONVINCED that this time they're going all the way). So let me get back to you on that. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to post randomly about Clique secure in the knowledge that I'm getting a lot of it wrong and making up the rest. That's part of the fun.

What I would LOVE, however, is a CD of anything Clique has recorded (including the Collar Popping song!). If I'm going to make the case that there's genuine talent here, I'll need more evidence than what's on MySpace and YouTube. I promise to keep the recordings confidential and off the Internet, though I may ask permission to post 30-second snippets for demonstration purposes. If this is a possibility, please email me.

PS: So did you give them the dollar?

Ermmm. I should probably quit before my entire readership turns on me for over-explaining the joke, but the well-being of the kids comes first, so one more important thing.

Clique does not exist in a cultural vacuum. It is part of a broad entertainment phenomenon that is deserving -- indeed, demanding -- of public critique. Many of the comments that Paris, Ariel and Destinee may feel are directed at them, are actually aimed at what they are aspiring to represent.

In other words, don't take it personally. As a professional culture critic, it's my responsibility to analyze -- sometimes approvingly, sometimes disparagingly, usually a little of both -- the coded meanings of bubblegum pop.

To the extent that Clique is a public entity, and no longer three kids performing at their school talent show, I will continue to use the band as a tool for conducting that analysis. To the extent that Paris, Ariel and Destinee are three real, sensitive girls, I will not mock or put them down personally. I recognize that this is a fine line (it probably would be easier if you HAD given them stage names) so you might just have to assure them that if anything they read here upsets them, they're probably reading it wrong.

Cool! We totally understand now where you are coming from. You seem like a nice person. It really made the girls smile that your kids like their music. I will see what I can do about getting you the music. For now we are on hold until the album is released. But since you are the first to write about them on the West Coast we will definitely make sure you get one of the first promo copies and a poster for your kids. The girls were actually laughing at all of this but I am probably the sensitive one since they are my children. You, I am sure understand being a parent. They are solid and strong after spending most of their life in public school, (you have to be to survive). Thanks again for recognizing them and again we really appreciate the compliments!

i dont know about you guys but, i think Paris is pretty

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