clap clap blog: we have moved

Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I should, first of all, point you toward and encourage you to download the Bratz song posted at Poptext. But I should also, since I am somewhat responsible for it being up there, add a few things.

First of all, for those who are unfamiliar, the Bratz are, um, dolls. They're very popular and were already tapping that Avril vein even before Avril herself, if I'm remembering correctly. But the thing is, the tracks are credited to the dolls. The dolls are the vocalists. And so the booklet has a few pages of credits, then a page each for "bios" of the girls, then "candid studio shots" done with the dolls and their accessories. Which are then followed by--speaking of which--a catalog of all the Bratz Rock Angels products you can buy. This catalog is 10 pages long with at least 4 items on every page. It's incredible. It's so blatantly commercial and so divorced from any actual personality or reality that any concerns of authenticity fall away, even vestigal ones pop-lovers might normally have. Once you've accepted that, yes, you're listening to a song ostensibly performed by a group of dolls (or, rather, dolls with attitude!), all you're left with is this song as an isolated thing. Or I am, anyway.

Sample catalog items: book, DVD, video games, "Band Intrumentz" [sic], stage ("Plus Your Stereo Into the Real-Working Speakers!" [sic]), recording studio ("Special Microphone Lets You Record and Play Back Sound!"), cruiser, "Party Plane," tourbus, "Funky Fashion Makeover," video camera, single-use camera, foldable scooter, "Protective Gear" ("Your Safety Just Got a Bit More Stylin'!"), stationery. Keep in mind that all of this is not just for the Bratz as a whole, but specifically the Bratz Rock Angelz, i.e. the subgenus this CD's associated with. It's crazy and kind of wonderful.

The other thing you should know about this is that there is a full album for the Bratz Rock Angelz, and now that I have had a chance to listen to that full album...well, here I face a problem. Because I won't deny that part of the reason the song (and the album) made such a huge impact on me was that I wasn't expecting anything; I mainly wanted the album so I could give it to Ar. So on the one hand, I don't want to get your expectations up too high. But on the the other hand, I do want you to actually go listen to it, which I understand may take some convincing, since, you know, it's an album made by dolls.

Thus, I'm not going to say it's the album of the year (nor I am going to say it made me tear up a number of times), but I will say that "the beat in our hearts is the beat on the charts" is both a fine thing for someone to put on a t-shirt for me and genuinely indicative of the kind of thing you'll get from this album: unabashed pop music that seems to be coming directly from someone's heart to yours. Again, I think the fact this this is an openly commercial enterprise helps a lot, because there's no tempermental vocalist to try and please or justify; there's just a bunch of great Swedish producers indulging each and every one of their popalicious whims. This is as close to a producer's album as we're ever going to get from that axis, I assume, and wow, what an album it is.

Once I get off my ass I'll write something more about the music itself, but for now I will say that "So Good" is, as it turns out, not necessarily the best song on the album, or rather that there are five other songs that are at least as good, and the rest ain't slouches either. One song is in 3/4, one song sounds like Lita Ford, and one is sort of 60s girl-pop, except metal. Oh, and then the "bonus track" is "So Good," but in Spanish. Aaahhhhh.