Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Ava Max – So Am I

“Everybody messages every day,” Ava laughs. “They’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, my husband just called me psycho, this is so relatable!’ [or] ‘My girlfriend says I’m psycho for doing this or that.’ So the relatability on the song is just out of this world!”


Will Adams: “It’s okay to be different,” Ava Max sings over a song that bends over backwards to recreate its predecessor’s success.

Alfred Soto: Trying hard not to fit the format and to be different — yes, I see

Katherine St Asaph: I feel less bad about my chronic procrastination now that I know DJ Earworm releases his year-end mashups in March. A pitch meeting for the new Gaga, with the lyrics of Katy Perry (“do you ever feel like a misfit bag? You’re king and you’re queen, you’re strong but you’re weak, you’re in then you’re out…”), with tentative head voice to sound like Ariana and reluctantly borrowed rap flows (“youdon’t — haveto –“) to sound like Rihanna, with a “challenge” like those challenged by meme marketers past, all to recapitulate Electra Heart or pre-cancellation Melanie Martinez. Everything is cliche half-received: Cheap perfume is cheap because it’s perceptible less, not more, “Killer Queen” is a song about… not this, and Harley Quinn and Sid and Nancy are, respectively, two huge films and about 50 cursory namedrops from being edgy. Isn’t there anyone outside Generation X to glamorize?

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The lyrics are less annoying than those of “Sweet but Psycho” despite covering similar themes, and “So Am I” works because it feels just as fit for the stage as it does the radio. Ava Max talks to the audience, wanting to encourage and empathize with them, and her theater-kid affectations finally make sense in the context of the song. Maybe next time we’ll get something more original.

Iris Xie: Why would I want an amorphous blob of a theatre-kid-turned-pop-star to tell me about how I am “dark and twisted” on the inside? I know my own personal darkness, and it’s nowhere near as boring as this piece of extruded silly putty. Ava Max, daughter of Betamax, sings about how it’s “okay to be different” and how “you don’t have to fit into the format” and that she understands because “so am I” — but she doesn’t! She really doesn’t. Because “So Am I” is too glossy, frictionless, and secure in its faithfulness to academic pop form to express any real angst — you can sing about being “dark and twisted,” but if the prerogative is to make pop music that fits all the rules, then what is truly dark or twisted? It is twisted to have a void tell you about how to dance to your angst, especially if it is taking twice as long as it should to bore you to death.

Scott Mildenhall: If ever there were a crystallisation of the pop-cultural triplethink over the commodification of mental health issues, the stigmatisation of mental health issues and non-specific Celebrations of Difference, it’s rewording something called “Sweet But Psycho” into this face-swap app glitch of a song (one that still finds time to haphazardly romanticise Sid Vicious) and releasing it as its follow-up. “So Am I” rings hollow… but at least it does have that ring to it.

Vikram Joseph: Ava Max’s continued use of “psycho”, “twisted” and “crazy” as tropes doesn’t even register as offensive, just incredibly tedious. Musically, it’s a barely adequate Lady Gaga B-side grown in a petri dish by scientists who’ve never actually heard a Lady Gaga song, but have once, way back, read a description of what one sounds like.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: This sounds like a pop song from a low budget children’s animated movie about pop music, and not even in an endearing way.

Ian Mathers: As much as this kind of “You laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at you because you’re all the same” stuff made me cringe when I was a literal teenager who liked plenty of Hot Topic-and-adjacent stuff, there absolutely are young people for whom this will be their lifeline, and more power to them. The real problem, and the real cringe, is when you get stuck in this sentiment; you’re less living for yourself and more frozen in opposition to whatever harmful normative structure you’re living in. Anyway, the comfort it might give people aside, song sucks.

Reader average: [2.5] (4 votes)

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5 Responses to “Ava Max – So Am I”

  1. upon further thought there are people outside generation x that get glamorized, but they’re, like, xxxtentacion, so maybe this is preferable after all

  2. subhead has the same energy as “everyone has been doing emails”

  3. theory: ava max is just a non-self-aware poppy iteration

  4. I don’t want to gloss over how great the rest of Iris’s blurb is (because it is), but “daughter of Betamax” made me laugh out loud at work.

  5. same