In case you haven’t become acquainted with the latest meme to hit the world – the autotuned remix of a news interview with a woman named Sweet Brown after a fire hit her apartment building – let me just advise you of two things:
1. Once you hear it, it will be in your head, around the clock. I cannot overemphasize this point. Fair warning. Since watching it, it has been on an endless loop in my brain, both audio and visual. Oh, the visual…especially for being so synched to the beat, there are some real retina-burners in there. But it’s the audio work that both impresses and burrows in to the mind. Since seeing it two days ago, I have narrated my days to the tune of “Ain’t nobody got time for that” (“Think I’m going to go walk the dogs; think I’m going to go walk the dogs. Think I’m going to go; think I’m going to go; think I’m going to go walk the dogs”) and “Said, Lordy Jesus, it’s a fahr” (“Said, Lordy Jesus, where’s my keys? Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, where’s my keys?”).
2. It’s really well made. There’s no shortage of these sorts of experiments, but this one has some real skill to its production.
And the whole thing of autotuning news clips, I think, has some things to take pause at – in fact, I’ve had whole long, pompous discussions about the pros (is it like sampling or DJing? Re-mediating and re-contextualizing to create art?) and cons (it’s pure mockery; why is it always the poor or uneducated given this autotune treatment? Because we’re laughing at them?) but I have to say, there’s some genuine editing skill going on with this. And maybe it only feels less mocking than, say, the Antoine Dodson video because it’s better made, but somehow it seems a little more fun-spirited. Also a better song.
So, what do you think? Is it art? Is it mean spirited? Is it both? Neither?