I had some reservations about writing this post – it seems a bit like kicking a lost little puppy. Admittedly in this case it’s a gurning, ridiculously dressed puppy who’s already been thrust head-first into the limelight via the nation’s most popular reality TV show, but still…
Oh, who am I kidding?
Cher Lloyd, for the uninitiated, is the slightly oddball alt-pop/rap drama queen who did reasonably well in last year’s X Factor. The leak of her single ‘Swagger Jagger’ yesterday was brought to my attention by this (entertainingly scathing) thread on Drowned In Sound. Unfortunately, my curiosity got the better of me and I gave it a listen – and what I heard was one of the most bizarre, hilarious pieces of pop music I’ve ever heard. To be honest, reading through that thread will probably do my job for me, but let’s run through a few things anyway.
If you listen to the song (God help you), the first thing you’ll probably notice is the vocal melody that’s been ripped wholesale from old American folk ballad ‘Oh My Darling, Clementine’ (or apparently, to some ears, Christmas Carol ‘Little Donkey’?!?) – a strange choice, especially when it’s juxtaposed with the pulsing synths during the chorus. Of course, if you think about it, pinching a recognisable melody makes sense given the song’s likely target audience (teenage girls), but that doesn’t make it any less jarring to my ears.
Then there’s the title of the song itself – what the hell is a ‘jagger’ in this context? My old friend Urbandictionary.com suggests that ‘jagger’ is (probably derogatory) slang for a Mexican, but I’m pretty sure Cher’s not singing about USA/Mexico border politics here. Given the chorus line (“Swagger jagger, swagger jagger/You should get some of your own”), it appears the term she might actually be looking for is swagger *jacker* – as in ‘hijacker’ of your ‘swag’ (style). As it stands, the title just seems like another nonsensical attempt to sound like Ke$ha (as if the autotuned vocals weren’t enough), but no doubt the term will be retroactively adopted after the song’s release (by those who might actually give a damn, anyway). The rest of the lyrics are just preemptive strikes at (very much existent) haters and shouts of “GET ON THE FLOOR” – yet another ‘Pon De Floor’ reference? “Ha ha ha ha, jack my swag” indeed.
The leak prompted a typically dramatic response from Cher, who claimed on Twitter that she’d “never been this upset ever!” Now, fair enough, I imagine it’s not a good feeling to have your record leaked. But really? You’re essentially saying that this is the worst thing that’s happened to you ever? I find that difficult to believe. She later revealed that the leaked version was apparently a demo and posted a short clip of the final track on Youtube… which sounds largely the same, just with glossier production. (Edit: The full song is now available, should you want to expose yourself to it for some reason.)
But, despite that fact that ‘Swagger Jagger’ is a mess of obnoxious synths, unimaginative beats, random hooks and lazily copied melodies, this post can probably be filed in the ‘resistance is futile’ category. The song will get its first radio play soon enough, and subsequently clog up the charts for a few weeks – in fact, it’s entirely possible that this leak and the ensuing dramatics from Cher are just another part of Simon Cowell’s well-oiled publicity machine… the crafty bastard.