Jessie J, Nobody's Perfect and The End of Civilisation
04 July 2011
Jessie J first broke into the Hit Parade last year, with a turn of phrase of which Cole Porter would have been proud. When you hear such lines as:
Dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty sucka
You think I can't get hurt like you, you motherfucker
Rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin' money like a pimp
My B-I-T-C-H is on my dick like this
it's hard not to imagine that one is listening to Grace Kelly in High Society. Certainly when watching the video to Do It Like A Dude at eight in the morning with one's children, one feels that it's all frightfully old-fashioned and that perhaps today's youth deserve something a little less staid, something other than a video that was clearly intended to be shown at Saturday afternoon meetings of the Women's Institute.
Her breakthrough number was the hit song Price Tag, wherein she bemoaned the fact that everyone is too serious.
Who exactly is it that's being too serious though? We live in the most frivolous society in all human civilisation (which is why, incidentally, it's about to collapse and we're all going to die). We live in a society in which 75% of all human lives are shown on reality television, you can rent a handbag for £500 a month, and book yourself on a luxury boot camp. Luxury boot camp… What, in the name of all fuck, is that about? That's like getting a luxury head butt or a luxury testicle crushing.
In the car one day I was happily launching into my Price Tag diatribe when One of Two informed me that the song isn't about society being too serious, but about the music business itself being too serious. Maybe she's right. And if she is right, then it's still a load of utter phooey. Sure, every now and again you'll find some fellow with shades on looking too cool for life, but even then, he's still doing it in a tremendously frivolous way. And anyway, for every too cool for school seventeen year-old, there are a hundred Ladio Gagas and Katy Perrys and Bruno Mars's with his damned hand in his pants, wanking off while surrounded by a homoerotic group of men in monkey masks.
Perhaps she meant that the business itself is too serious and that everyone should just be having fun rather than trying to make money. See the Beatles, Apple, 1968. Didn't work. In fact, even better, watch the Michael Palin/George Harrison sequence from the Rutles.
Perhaps, in fact, it's just a three-minute pop song and wasn't really intended to be held up to overt lyrical scrutiny.
Nevertheless, ploughing on regardless, let's consider Jessie J's Nobody's Perfect, currently at Number 27 in the Hit Parade, having been in the chart for 15 weeks.
There are three occasions in life when one would use the phrase nobody's perfect:
1. When making a general comment on why the world is fucked up, and why whatever political system is introduced in any country is guaranteed to not really work for most of the population, that there are incredibly wealthy people in the world while billions are in poverty, why absurdities like the Korean divide exist and why just in general there is crime, murder, genocide, war and preposterous mass popular culture, while the forests are raped and the seas die. Nobody's perfect, therefore the world is a lot more shit than it ought to be.
2. When comforting someone when they've messed up by some means or other. Don't worry about it, we all make mistakes, nobody's perfect.
3. When excusing yourself, your behaviour or your performance, so that you can make out that actually it's not your fault, but the fault of society, or the fault of Eve perhaps. Nobody's perfect, therefore, it's not my fault I fucked up. Everyone else would have been equally stupid in the same situation, therefore you can't actually blame me.
When doing my usual one minute's research for this blog, I discovered that those other great musical icons Miley Cyrus and Madonna also both have songs entitled Nobody's Perfect. This could tie in nicely with the fact that there are three circumstances in which one might use the phrase, if perhaps they'd each gone for a different usage, and we could contrast what this tells us about them as individuals.
Strangely all three songs were written from the perspective of Number 3.
Can't blame them really. It's society's fault and nobody's perfect. Which is why, with no one taking responsibility for anything in life, human civilisation will collapse and we'll all die.
Did I say that already? It's not my fault.