Review Summary: 04/14/2019 - itsa bop
The hyper-sexualized pop persona that exists inside Slayyyter's tread between reality and her "virtualized" presence is really interesting to me. The person behind Slayyyter is not the larger than life attention-grabbing sex magnet the music claims her to be. She can't even pretend she is embellishing aspects of her life that may exist. She works part-time as a salon receptionist in Missouri, she's a Twitter shitposter, and her music is recorded from the luxurious confides of her closet. There's an absence of glamour behind the high polish veneer of Slayyyter the performer. And while "bubblegum bass" serves to blur the lines between performance art and the act of being "genuine" with nauseating over-production and a dash of irony, the contrast between Slayyyter and genre-adjacent artists cannot be ignored. Nadia Oh is a model, GFOTY is the daughter of an art dealer and businessman with a name behind him, and Charli XCX was a Billboard topping pop star before her foray into the genre.
These artists even have star power backing them on production! Charli and GFOTY work with many of the greatest within PC Music and Nadia was being propped up by one of Lady Gaga's early collaborators. Slayyyter, on the other hand, has a few people she met over Twitter and Ayesha Erotica; who is another underground pop darling who makes very comedic and very, very trashy work. It's so grassroots and DIY that if not for the high quality production backing it this mixtape could easily be mistaken for any other bedroom project. It gets you thinking a bit. If we are to understand that Slayyyter as a project is a hyper-exaggeration of a life that does not exist, then what purpose does this figure aim to fulfill? Someone could claim this project is satirical in their reading of this material and someone less friendly could tell you it's about nothing at all, both of which are suggestions I have seen before. I don't think I'm satisfied with either, though.
I think to claim satire is to forgo knowing what exactly is being satirized here and to assume that this is a project that basks in the idea that deep down none of this is good. It's the "intentionally bad" argument made even more obnoxious. And to claim that it is about nothing at all and is just a bunch of fun songs is to ignore the love, energy, and care being given. Her influences are obvious, but the advancements made with those influences and aesthetics bleed gleeful, over-indulgent fanboyism. Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, a Max Martin-backed boy band of your choice, and the myriad of PC Music residue that can be traced all the way back to some point and some artist in 2008 - it's all here and very on the nose depending on your selected track. The way that Slayyyter and her collaborators reconstruct those influences into a modern, out-of-genre environment is where this record becomes something special. There's always some sort of disorganization happening within these short bursts of bite-sized pop jams. The glitchy hyper production, the exhaustive amount of vocal effects and modulation being employed, the tongue-in-cheek lyric sheet - it all comes together to create this weird, unusual blur of the enthusiast and the image they've constructed. You can always peek beneath the elaborate glitz, glamour, and high-class production and find a person that doesn't quite fit in with the reality they're attempting to sell you on.
It would be like if Gem of Gem and the Holograms had a performance where her technologic disguise was constantly waning, giving the audience a constant glimpse of ordinary music executive Jerrica beneath the apparition. It's Hannah Montana if every now and then her blonde wig fell and gave way to her tame, brown hair revealing the average Miley Stewart. It's the impassioned enthusiast living out the fantasies of larger-than-life celebdom from the comfort of their suburban home. And to me that's really charming. It's that "cold, hard exterior" that gives way to a cute, mushy inside that makes you melt. This tape simply could not have been done by anyone who came into the project with any level of cynicism against the influences and the genre. It's pure love and it's beautiful!