“Partyin’, Partyin’. Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.” Let’s not kid ourselves—at some point in the last month or so we had the infamous lyrics of teenage wannabe diva Rebecca Black stuck in our heads. You most probably also heard other musical masterpieces such as “My Jeans” by Jenna Rose or “I’m Zack” by Zachary Freiman. The whimsical lyrics, although inane and, quite frankly, obnoxious, were innocent if we consider them outside of Charlie Sheen’s definition of partying. Despite the temporary deafness induced by such “music” videos and their auto-tuned singers, the words remain harmless.
A new video, however, has changed that. Twelve-year-old Jenna Rose released a second song, OMG, following the success of her initial video (though with 7.5 million views on Youtube, she’s clearly no Rebecca Black). But this time, instead of warbling on about a trivial wardrobe crisis, she disturbingly portrays herself as a so-called “Teen Boom Boom Doll.” The craze of fame-seeking, Bieber-imitating, overzealous teenagers is all right as long as a certain line isn’t crossed. Jenna Rose, however, has crossed that line.
In the video, Rose is dancing provocatively to lyrics that say, “You know that you want to/You know that you need to/It will last longer for you.” Did I mention she’s 12? The lyrics continue: “Oh my God, she looks good/Oh my God, you know you wish you could.” Did I mention how 12 she is?
While these lyrics might be fine in a Lady Gaga song (though they’re probably not meta enough) or maybe a Britney comeback song (though they might not be egocentric enough), they definitely shouldn’t be part of a 12-year-old’s repertoire since they only add to the premature titillation and sexualization of adolescent youth in America.
This may be indicative of a larger trend in pop music. From Miley Cyrus’ “Can’t be Tamed” to everything new piece in Ke$ha’s ouvre, song lyrics have explored the gory details of the physical, the sensual, and the sexual to popular acclaim. Yet it is unsettling that pre-teenage girls think that such lyrical depravity is their only chance at fame. What is even more unnerving is that the parents of many such teenagers seem to be fine with it.
Rose’s video is probably not the only example of hyper-sexualized adolescent years, which makes it worrisome that such a music style is becoming a trend among teenagers. Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” video, although on a totally different artistic level, includes themes that are not appropriate to an 11- year-old with lyrics such as “I gets it in hmm yeah, I go hard.” I’m not suggesting that everything that airs on the radio ought to be G-rated, but kids in their early teens need not emulate the questionable styles of our current pop stars.
OMG still has some quirky lyrics á la Black, but it reveals a desperate teenager in search of fame. Rose’s misguided attempt might be due to the poor array of role models and the eagerness of her parents. Her claim to fame, however, should not be based on a quasi-erotic “music” video.
Yet, there’s still time for her to redress this lyrical faux pas. Hopefully, her next song will go easy on the auto-tune too.