Monday, March 5th, 2018

Why Don’t We – Trust Fund Baby

Here’s seven reasons, boys…


Will Adams: What opens as an interesting abstract on what class-conscious pop could sound like quickly devolves into a screed against girls who dare to use makeup, take selfies or otherwise fail to meet the requirements set forth by this Tinder bio of a song. Must climb trees; must like throwback stuff like cassette tapes and Missy Elliott; must aspire to wealth but not too much; must be thrifty; must bring the man out of her partner; and, most of all, must know “how to fix cars, maybe she could fix me.” Dudes, you are all FUBAR; she won’t be able to help you.

Katherine St Asaph: Nike Airs cost upwards of $100 a pair, before sales, in part because athleisure is an Instagram-ubiquitous, Jenner-Hadid-beloved trend. Louboutins can be had for less secondhand, in part because they peaked in the zeitgeist with Sex and the City. Selfies, beyond the initial tech outlay, are free. Makeup costs like $10 at every drugstore. Lots of moneyed girls love 50 Cent and Missy Elliott — largely because “throwback” culture is marketed to the middle class and up, and unlike, say, Migos or Cardi B, neither is on actual rap radio anymore. Lots of scrappy girls like fake tans and short skirts. They talk trust funds because it’s sympathetic, but their real disgust is with girls contaminated by girliness. Is it any surprise that Ed Sheeran wrote this? If it is, it won’t be after hearing the music.

Alfred Soto: Only a Sheeran believes in absolutes. 

Edward Okulicz: Just one unforced lyrical error after another here; “Trust Fund Baby” sets up a whole bunch of false dichotomies and can’t piece together any coherent thoughts on class — “I like my women independent/and I say to people ‘that’s my lady'” — no. From the pen of a guy who’s got lots of money and out of the mouths of boys whose lives wouldn’t be influenced a jot by dating a girl who has money, this stinks. As to how it sounds, Ed Sheeran can make his jumpy dork persona work for him when he rippity raps because there’s as much self-deprecation as there is bravado, but these boys don’t have a skerrick of either.

Ryo Miyauchi: One Direction was liked by such a vast crowd of fans for a reason, and it’s because they were the very opposite of selective when it came to who they chose to deem beautiful. Though, I’m unsure if even they could make Ed Sheeran’s clunky rap cadence a viable pop style.

Jonathan Bradley: Fuck that get money. There have been other songs about the desirability of a partner from the poor end of town, but “Trust Fund Baby” sounds like the work of a songwriter who heard LL’s “Around the Way Girl” and couldn’t decode the class politics. Beyond the sketchy association of the purported frivolity of femininity with the frivolity of wealth, the most suspect aspect of this is its demurral of future riches as well as past. Fetty Wap and his Trap Queen wanted matching Lambos, but Why Don’t We put a firm nix on “getting rich and getting out.” When Big said “I wanna bitch that like to play cee-lo and craps/Packin’ gats, in a Coach bag steamin’ dime bags,” he highlighted class signifiers to underline a personal connection: his relationship was strengthened because his partner had shared cultural reference points. Ed Sheeran’s lyric sees deprivation in the most bougie terms possible: the divide is one of brands worn and records played, not of opportunity and deprivation.  

Alex Clifton: Can we not?

Reader average: [5.33] (9 votes)

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3 Responses to “Why Don’t We – Trust Fund Baby”

  1. oh my god I had no idea Ed Sheeran worked on this, that would have knocked my score down to a zero

  2. “tinder bio” is otm also, so many people act like taking one selfie or finding emoji hilarious instantly consigns a person to the vapid column forever.

  3. two selfies, on the other hand…