In this week’s edition of This or That we’re gonna look at a pair of 3-name pop star ingenues and determine just who is the THIS and who’s the THAT.
Well, pop music is sure in some state these days. I’m not even sure we can directly point to anything as pop music anymore… I mean, is Fetty Wap pop? Does Taylor Swift really count if she’s like the only real bankable star anymore? My two subjects this week, Carly Rae Jepsen and Lana Del Ray, are hardly setting the charts on fire despite critical praise for their recent mastery of the “pop” genre. Let’s take a look their newest singles and see who’s really got this.
There can be no doubt that Carly Rae Jepsen takes the literal literally in her lyrics. She reached the pinnacle of stating the obvious with her hit earlier this year – “I Really Really Really Really Really Really Like You”. We get it. There is no room for allusion or inference in songs like that or her biggest hit, “Call Me Maybe”, another blank-faced statement of fact in a pop song chorus. We’ve gotten to the point that the irony of a song called “This is a Song” wouldn’t even be ironic anymore.
“Runaway with Me” is another in her series of givin’ it to us straight. The video does something with this direct address and actually puts you the visual first person on some kind of international date with Carly Rae. And after a career of songs that tell you to call her, explain how she likes you over and over, and now wants to run away together… well, I feel like Scientolo-Rae Jepsen might have started to hook me in!
On the other hand, though, we’ve got Lana Del Ray – the critic’s critic’s pop singer, slightly dangerous, a bit odd, radio-friendly but not getting played, and never seeming like an accessible person at all. If “Runaway with Me” is an invitation then “High by the Beach” is a restraining order.
She literally swears at us for being lame and then, well, physically tries to take us out for looking at her. I won’t spoil the finale of that video if you didn’t watch it, but it’s definitely worth staying until the end for. That wacky ending and the one-take-esque nature of this video should appeal to any righteous geek out there, and certainly she seems to be the more attractive of the two, right?
So let’s get down to it, who’s THIS and who’s THAT?
That Carly Rae Jepsen’s photo-realism in her song lyrics and video give her a not-so-but-almost-Lolita-ish friendly appeal, while Lana Del Ray has the hip Pitchfork-ready material and the maybe-I’m-a-model-or-maybe-I’m-too-smart-for-it-ness that probably should make her THIS.
But, I think I’m gonna go against the grain here and say that Carly Rae Jepsen has THIS. What is “this” you’re probably asking right about now? Well, you know, she’s got ‘this’ as in like that ‘this’ that is the thing, like that thing that you just can’t explain but just is because that’s this. You know what I mean. So yeah, today Carly Rae you’re THIS and that means, we’re sorry but – Lana Del Ray you’re THAT loser!