Voyou Désœuvré

  • Walmart as Utopia. Obviously there are lots of songs about conspicuous consumption, but most of them are about a fantasy level of consumption which is unattainable (probably, for the artist; certainly, for most of their audience). I think Jay-Z has actually produced the Adornian nec plus ultra of this genre with “Picasso Baby.” How do you top a song that says, “I’m so rich I can buy art, the value of which is defined precisely by its purported exclusion from the sphere of exchange-value”? But what I’m thinking of for this theme are those songs where the utopianism of consumption is placed somewhere rather more everyday: Diamond’s “Living in the Mall” is probably my favourite example, though Shampoo’s “Take a Break” kind of works too.
  • Love songs where romance is expressed through the kind of home-making activities which emphasize the less pleasant aspects of embodiment. I was reminded of this by the line about septic tanks in Kacey Musgraves’s “My House,” but the best example is Arab Strap’s “There is no Ending.”
  • Phoneme-merger bangers. Actually the only example I can think of for this is Kacey Musgraves’s hymn to the Mary/marry/merry merger, “Merry Go Round.”

Any suggestions gratefully received, obviously.


  1. Ted Whalen, 1:01 pm, August 18, 2013

    (1) is quite the niche. There’s a nice chunk of post-punk that would slot in as a critique of middle class consumption, but as a celebration? Best I can do is something like the recent “thrift shop”. I’d be willing to bet there’s a slew of modern country songs that would fall into this category, but that’s outside my areas of expertise. Quick googling yields Alan Jackson’s “I Still Like Bologna”, which sounds promising.

    (3) would Britney’s “If U Seek Amy?” fit?

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