“Boom Clap” – Charli XCX


First thing’s first: this song ain’t the realest.

It’s terrible. It’s crap. It sounds like a song that failed out of the 80s and then just sort of drifted until it settled down upon us, like musical mustard gas choking your throat and nose and lungs. It falls upon the land during a time period when music charts are big red exclamation marks with a frowny face drawn beneath them on a U.N. weapon’s inspector’s clipboard.

The verses in Boom Clap are nonsensical and borderline unintelligible because of the Don Corleone-type thing Ms. XCX has going on in her mouth sometimes.

She sort of looks like Lorde’s sister, you know? At family dinners, Charli would probably bring home a guy named Z or Ashe, and not the good Ash like Ketchum, but the bad Ashe, with an ‘e,’ like the guy I used to play Halo 3 with who would go to pro tournaments to sell adderall to the players. Lorde is sitting at the other end of the table wearing a schoolgirl’s uniform with just the right amount of rebelliousness splashed in there. Then Lorde gets into music and Charli’s like, ‘What the fuck, why not?’ And here we are.

So I’ve spent up until now ragging on it. What about this song is redeemable? Why am I taking time out of my busy day of looking at my phone in public places to write stupid things about a stupid piece of stupid music?

Because of the chorus. The chorus.

I hate how catchy it is. HATE it. But I can’t get over it. I put it on when I walk out of class, when I get in my deceptively spacious Prius and when I’m playing Xbox. I don’t know why.

Brian Phillips recently described sumo as old. Not old like black-and-white TV, he said, but old like the mists of time. That’s a beautiful bit of writing, but maybe that’s why I like it? Because it makes me want to pick up my hoe and go march to fight a feudal war against the French? Because at a base level it’s just mumbling and then some random bass and drums and easy-to-follow lyrics that really make no sense and we all seem to like that?

Not everybody, I guess. Some people are deaf.

Maybe that’s not it, exactly. Maybe it’s because it’s this basic, “Hey I generally like somebody and maybe they don’t like me and here’s some generally general catchy nonsense to accompany that general thought process.” Probably this more than the other? I don’t know.

Bo Burnham has a wonderful performance/standup routine entitled, “what.” In the act, he has a song entitled “Repeat Stuff,” which is about how most songs are just a grab-bag of “I love you bunches, bae” said in different ways, coupled with an uncomplicated chorus and some teenage god covered in butter writhing around on stage. “We know it’s not right/We know it’s not funny/But we’ll stop beating this dead horse/When it stops spittin’ out money.”

Ding ding ding.

Boom Clap is garbage. But Jesus I love it. Please God make me stop loving it. I have a wife and children. Have you no mercy?

But what we do on YouTube echoes in eternity, so I’m sorry ancestors. Boom, Clap, the sound of my heart, the beat goes on and on and on and on and…