Let’s face it: Sometimes music sounds better when the artist is a bit of a villain
Doja Cat tweeting that she hates her fans is somehow making her excellent new singles slap even harder
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Doja Cat has been being a bit of a dick head. And by that, I mean insulting her fans and losing 180,000 followers on social media after telling her once hardcore stanning fans that she doesn’t give a fuck what they think about her and that she has no interest in embracing them anyway. The Cat then addressed her Insta plummet, saying “Seeing all these people unfollow makes me feel like I’ve defeated a large beast that’s been holding me down for so long and it feels like I can reconnect with the people who really matter and love me for who I am and not for who I was.” It’s a pretty wild way to boot off your new album cycle, and one that’s of course been widely criticised. But I’m here to say that I don’t actually need my music artists to be this holier than thou effigy of kindness – sometimes, the music slaps harder when an artist like Doja Cat decides to become a bit of a villain.
‘Bitch, I, said what I said…’
Both Attention and Paint The Town Red, the two singles from Doja Cat’s upcoming album are spitting from the same hymn book. This new era is Doja’s first since she became a global megastar during her album era for Planet Her – a massive record that followed Hot Pink and featured more banger singles like Kiss Me More, Woman and Get Into It (Yuh). Doja has since denounced her past catalogue, calling the music “cash grabs” and “mediocre pop.”
Whilst I don’t agree with the sentiment, and I think whilst Attention and Paint The Town Red tread new themes for Doja sonically and lyrically, they’re pretty consistent with the quality we’re used to from her discography. But wha fascinates me is the more obnoxious and unlikeable Doja gets on socials and in her personal life, the harder these two new singles begin to slap. At least for me – and I’m not the only one. Paint The Town Red is breaking streaming records left right and centre for female rap music as I write this and you read it.
When I listen to these two now, with the context of what Doja Cat has been up to – they kind of hit even harder. Good songs objectively in their own right, but when you know Doja’s headspace her verses crackle with an extra level of fire. It’s just made me think on how actually, I’ve got no interest in the artists I listen to being a beacon of light and goodness in this world. Music is art, and if the art is good, sometimes it goes harder when the artist is being a bastard. Sorry!
When I listen to Grimes or when I listen to Azealia Banks, I feel the same sentiment. Grimes is currently nothing short of insufferable, and when I read her interview with Wired and the way she defends Elon Musk to the hilt, even as he drives Twitter into oblivion, is pure trauma for me.
In the interview, Grimes talks about her “great general” and the father of her child and about his hatred of woke culture. “Take the trans thing. After that, we had a big, long conversation. I was like, “I want to dissect why you’re so stressed about this.” Getting to the heart of what Elon says helps me get to the heart of what other people’s issues are, because it’s this über guy situation. And it came down to pretty much every way that you transition can cause fertility issues. I was like, OK, you don’t hate trans people, you hate woke culture. I get that it can be annoying, and you have concerns about the fertility thing. So let’s figure it out, because there’s a lot of fertility tech that could be innovated that would help trans people have kids, which would be great and would solve a lot of problems. He’s just on Twitter, and he’s unhappy with woke people, and the arguments happened.”
It’s obviously unbearable. But it’s also on brand. If I press play on Miss Anthropocene, this is the kind of attitude I’d expect someone who’s talking about “woke culture” disdain with the richest man on the planet to have when making records like this. Do I need to like Grimes and want to hang out with her to declare Kill V Maim as one of the best songs ever made? I don’t think so.
I’m not out here defending proper villain behaviour. I’m not advocating listening to recently convicted Tory Lanez who’s just been sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting Megan Thee Stallion. I do not endorse “Oooh, we all like a bad boy” culture here. But I do think it’s fun when pop stars break their pleasant demeanours and lean into the dark side. Doja Cat is smart, and if she wants to be a villain for this album era as she literally paints the artworks of her old records red, so be it. It slaps. She can call me what she wants, I’ll be streaming if the music is good.
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