Thursday, July 21, 2016

Song of the Day #332 - Desiigner - Tiimmy Turner

Timmy Timmy Timmy Turner

I have absolutely no idea how to say anything sensible about this song. It is maybe just impossible. Let's retread our steps a bit. First you get this guy who sounds like Future and Kanye puts him on to an unprecedented degree by just playing the kid's song right in the middle of one of his own new songs on his brand new album, essentially introducing the world to him in the middle of one of the biggest and craziest music events ever, the very one we were getting so nostalgic about yesterday. Almost everyone thinks it's Future at first and by the time they realize that nah, it's some other guy, they're all so addicted to the masterpiece that is Panda. Panda hit #1 and went platinum and did better than any Future song ever has, or at least since "Turn On the Lights". He had a song called "Pluto" too, I think, which is just absurd. Like, none of this makes sense, right? The fact that every public appearance he made was just aggressively and repeatedly dabbing doesn't help.

And then he made the XXL freshman list, with the obligatory freestyle, and suddenly the story of this bizarre overnight sensation GOOD Music Futurebot took on a new dimension of depth. No one was quite sure what to make of this thing. The lyrics referenced The Fairly OddParents, which idk, I watched it a few times as a kid, it seemed okay, I'm sure it has its fans, but it isn't really something you'd want as the core of your aesthetic identity. You gotta remember, though, that Desiigner was only 9 years old when it first ended airing (I guess it was cancelled once and renewed?). It has a whole different role in his mentality than it does for us. It really seemed like the freestyle was maybe something that had lingered in his head since he was a kid, growing up in a rough neighbourhood and imagining how it would be different if he had the eponymous Timmy's powers. With that (hypothetical) context, it seemed much more powerful, representing not just itself but the magnitude of emotional energy that they had unlocked by bring this teenage kid into national limelight.

There needed to be something to explain just how entranced people were by this song. The 45 second clip has been viewed something like 7.5 million times. It seemed like we were dealing with an entirely new beast. And then soon after that he dropped New English, which, for better or worse, was basically just an extremely aggressive Future mixtape, and everyone felt content that nah, it was the same old beast after all. But the memory of "Timmy Turner" lingered. Pitchfork even went out of their way to shout it out at the end of their largely negative review of New English.

So really, I think, after these many shifts of magnitude and direction of expectation, after so much had been said in praise of those 40 seconds, the most sensible option was to make something like this. To enlist Mike Dean and all their best engineers and make something that could handle all the expectations of the people waiting. And to weaponize it: GOOD Music wants The Life of Desiigner (10/10 name, btw) to be a hit, and there's no better opportunity to get people hyped up for it than this much-anticipated single. Thus it seems like this latest development is maybe the first sensible occurrence in the bizarre adventure of Desiigner.

But umm, having said that, this song makes no sense. I still can't say anything sensible about it. The cover art sorta looks like a Matryoshka album cover, with the taped up collage sorta thing. That makes no sense. It sounds sorta like a seance at the start, the way it starts with the vocal swell makes me think of like... ancient Egypt, maybe. But then he lets loose with his trademark gunclap ad-libs? They let him do it a cappella with the snaps for a bit to completely evoke the freestyle video, but when he starts his verses, a Travis Scott-esque soundscape quickly whips up around him like a gathering storm. But even that isn't enough, they have this insane transcendental heavenly keyshift finale, where they bring it back to this surreal clip of Mike Dean laying it down on piano where, as a final affront to sensibility, Desiigner seems to be wearing a chain that looks like Miku???

So yeah, very little of this adds up, and yet we're all the better for whatever unholy unmath conjured it up. It is made clear for the umpteenth time that Mike Dean is a genius, and it seems like Desiigner might be too. And we probably shouldn't understate that Kanye is a genius, too: he has created a monster here truly unlike all others, and yet like all others at once... from Brooklyn, but raps about broads in Atlanta with Future's drawling flow, the cloudy atmosphere of Travis Scott, the endearing outsiderdom of Makonnen, and the beyond-English vocal instrumentation of Young Thug. GOOD Music has a giant of a star that could engulf the entire south. I can't wait to see what'll happen next, because I know I could never guess.

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