Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Big Freedia – Almost Famous

She’s the biggest diva, don’t you know.


Anthony Easton: So wonderfully, genuinely joyous. What I love about bounce is not only the joyousness, but the ultimate minimalism of it — the basic minimum that you can do to make a track that could be considered danceable, to be considered music, to be considered a movement.

Chuck Eddy: Besides being the lead track on a digital-only EP funded by a Toyota subsidiary, “Almost Famous” comes closer to sounding legitimately “hip-house” (inasmuch as hip-house is something worth being legit about) than any radio hit I’ve heard that tag lazily applied to. (Only recent cut I’ve heard that might come closer is White Pony feat. Josephine Philip’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” which I’ll take over O.D.B.’s original, so sue me.) It’s also most likely both the best song to reference Rob Base and D.J. E-Z Rock’s “It Takes Two” since at least Seduction’s “Two To Make It Right,” and the best song ever named after a movie about rock critics. And that’s all before you even get to Freedia’s opera parts at the end! Whether it’s as mind-boggling performed live as his/her “Gin In My System” remains to be seen.

Brad Shoup: Look, I had a ball at the 2010 SXSW bounce showcase. “Walmart” was an unqualified triumph. But this… I suppose the haters win here, having cornered Freedia into protesting way too much. “Azz Everywhere” this isn’t. More like “Tyler Perry’s I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends”.

Jonathan Bradley: If this is to be bounce’s mainstream unveiling, I’d prefer it to exhibit more in the way of classic bounce elements. There’s nought in the way of foundational NOLA text “Triggaman” here, and while Freedia’s brash chants and energetic presence are satisfying — if generic — they don’t compare to the genre’s ribald party classics like “Bounce for the Juvenile” or “Where They At.” It’s not that Freedia’s cheerful braggadocio and switchblade-sharp synths squander her hometown’s undersung legacy — of which she is an important part — but they do seem distinctly more impressive when considered without that history in mind.

Jer Fairall: “Sissy bounce” was a genre I desperately wanted to support back when it first came to my attention in print, but if all of it consists of these aggressive, monotonous “Hollaback Girl” pep rally chants, I’ll happily stick to just reading about it.

Ian Mathers: I don’t know what’s going on here, but it gave me a headache and I couldn’t get through it twice. At least those Death Grips guys had some grasp of nuance – this dude, I’m going to respond to his boasts in the most hateful way possible: I’m not going to look up who he is.

Edward Okulicz: Certainly doesn’t want for enthusiasm or life, but Freedia’s zest is less invigorating than it is ultimately totally exhausting. Two minutes of this fizzes and bounces, any more was a little beyond my tolerance.

Zach Lyon: I’m always drawn to support and love other cities’ home field advantages, even if I’ll only ever be an outsider and never fully immerse myself in juke or go-go or bounce. I don’t want to try to bring authenticity into it, because fuck that very concept; these days, there’s just something very warm about a city making music for itself. Even if Freedia is all about getting famous. That would never happen, but lord if it isn’t deserved — I’ve not found another performer with such a strong and awesome personality this year. And I love how “Almost Famous” is driven entirely by that personality and basically nothing else. This has nothing on “Y’all Get Back Now,” the earlier single (you want to watch that video), but any of this is perfectly fine for me right now.

Michaela Drapes: I should almost recuse myself from this; a good friend is one of the foremost chroniclers of Bounce and hip-hop in New Orleans, post-Katrina. The utter joy and ebullience on this track undeniable; Freedia’s days as a drum major and cheerleader serve her well as the most prominent face of Sissy Bounce, the nearly indescribable phenomenon of Nola’s queer party hip-hop scene. Sweaty, raunchy and charmingly naughty, only New Orleans could birth music like this and send it out into the wider world to steamroll over tragedy. Amazing.

18 Responses to “Big Freedia – Almost Famous”

  1. So I’m the only one who thought this was just a bunch of boring yelling, then?

    I don’t normally feel bad about hating a song, but you guys are making me feel kind of bad. Still can’t stand the song, though.

  2. I would’ve given this a 3-4 but couldn’t think of anything interesting to say about it.

  3. I recommend checking out Brad’s link to “Walmart.”

  4. 1) To be fair, in my experience bounce is one of those things that’s either totally up your street or just a bunch of noise.

    2) I will give that this isn’t Big Freedia’s best work (see the above-mentioned “Y’all Get Back Now”, but it still works for me.




  7. Sometimes I feel like the only one who finds “Walmart” exploitative and sad, especially in light of how it was covered by the blog cycle.

  8. there is a split b/w Big Frieda, who I don’t think is exploitive and sad at all, and Wal Mart, which is a b it more problematic. I also found some of the coverage of wal-mart classist and a bit racist. Its not the best of the bounce tracks, that’s for sure.

  9. The thing about most of the Walmart coverage is that not much of it mentioned bounce at all! Most of it was just “hey, look at this wacky video, y’know, wacky like People of Walmart, and hey, asses.”

  10. yr right, that’s what i found racist about it (because it refused genre context) and classist (because wal-mart was to be mocked beside)

  11. I haven’t seen any of the response to “Walmart.” I figure that, yeah, sure, the video’s meant to be wacky, but bounce is a genre that is both goofy and sexually explicit. In the context of New Orleans rap rather than Perez Hilton (whom I pull up through Googling), it doesn’t seem anything outrageous.

  12. Well, I didn’t see any of the blog coverage of “Wal-Mart” (and I have no doubt that it is probably as awful as you claim), but having been cruised many a time on a late-night Wally World run, I think that track is pretty damn a) accurate and b) hilarious. There’s no point in hand-wringing over privileged people’s take on Wal-Mart; it is what it is: a place to buy boy shorts, pantyhose, coolers, ammo, car batteries, giant bags of Doritos, school supplies, a vaccum cleaner, Transformers’n’Barbies, and uh, personal care products.

  13. (And yes, in the bounce context, the video for “Wal-Mart” is actually … pretty tame. It’s not so much bounce proper as bounce-ish.)

  14. I’m glad y’all (mostly) liked it. I feel the same way as Michaela: it’s just a great comedy song with a supercharged beat. It’s really a hyper track about mundane junk you can buy at Wal-Mart, kinda like a 2011 “YMCA”.

  15. To be on the safe side, it’s more like the Village People’s “Milkshake”.

  16. Part of my job involves scrolling through lots of blogs, so possibly I’m in a separate bubble (but, y’know, a millions-encompassing one.) I didn’t even find out there was a bounce connection until a few days later.

  17. I would think that the er, aesthetics [NO PUN INTENDED, SORT OF] of the video would have given some indication of the bounce connection!

  18. Hmm I think I still prefer DJ Assault.