Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Why Don’t We & Macklemore – I Don’t Belong In This Club

Well maybe if you had a trust fund baby to buy your way into the right club this wouldn’t have happened now, hmm???


Will Adams: The resounding narrative of pop music this decade has outlined a vague descent from party rockin’ excess to everything-sucks despair, to the point where even a passive pop consumer can trace it. But there’s also been a smattering of songs that directly critique the club setting where it all started, presumably responding to the glut of songs that presented the club as the place to spend your last night on Earth, to light up like dynamite. From this we get songs like “#Selfie,” “Ode to the Bouncer,” “All My Friends” and “The Line,” each prodding at the early ’10s EDM behemoth to varying degrees of success. “I Don’t Belong In This Club” is fine to add as a data point, but important to highlight as this micro-genre’s nadir. Just as trust funds were a smokescreen for yucky girliness, exclusive clubs are a smokescreen for relatability posturing, itself a tiresome symptom of the latter half of the ’10s. These boys are simultaneously stuck in the line, feeling uncool once inside and too good for the debauchery, all without making any deeper observations. Even more confusing is Macklemore’s verse, which implies that he is both not famous enough to skip the line but recognizable enough to get a shout-out from the DJ. The gonzo piano-stomp wouldn’t be so egregious were it not another cog in the wheel of creating an unearned shout-along that feels detached from any reality. Why does not belonging sound this chipper?

Alfred Soto: So “Why Don’t We & Macklemore” isn’t the name of the act? Drat. Anyway, combining Eminem, “Ignition (Remix),” Years & Years, Red Bull, and Macklemore produces the expected mish-mash. No one can explain why the arrangement is so crowded with incident. 

Julian Axelrod: What a weird lil song! A twee anti-club anthem with a club-ready drop, a genuinely funny and self-deprecating Macklemore feature, a song predicated on the fame and fuckability of Why Don’t We written by some dudes who aren’t in Why Don’t We. It doesn’t totally cohere, but I appreciate that “antisocial fun.-lite rap hybrid” is a viable route for a boy band in 2019.

Katherine St Asaph: The least subtle boy-band piano since “It’s Gonna Be Me,” big and stomping and peppy like an Andre-the-Giantified “Two Weeks,” deployed to tell the story of the essential shittiness of clubs. Also, there’s Macklemore. Completely indefensible, and yet a

Scott Mildenhall: The Overton window of publishable inner thought has shifted several acres since JLS proclaimed that the club was alive with the sound of music at the start of the decade, so Why Don’t We’s #relatable pose-striking doesn’t really go as far as it could. Did JB dutifully delay his retreat into farming for this? The WhyDon’ts never really even deliver it with feeling, and as penance that leaves the heavy lifting to their guest. Amazingly, he provides the one moment close to subversion, by turning a perfunctory Drake reference into something other than an uncritical namedrop. It points a finger towards the song’s bubble, but doesn’t burst it. That’s fair, because pop would be poorer without some ennui, palely performative or not.

Taylor Alatorre: Macklemore does his darnedest to turn this into something halfway personable, never evincing any bitterness over the sense that “Macklemore in 2019” is the crux of the joke here. He’s heard every variation of “I wish he would mackle less” that there is, and he’s cool with it. Good for him. That doesn’t change the fact that the rest of this is a plodding aggrandizement of petty micro-dramas rather what it could have been — an expression of solidarity with those who never even get past the front door.

Alex Clifton: Look, this is very stupid and I’m not entirely sure if it works, but this is also an entirely relatable and delightful brand of stupid. I hate clubbing! It’s the worst! I hate going out and paying seven bucks for bourbon and ginger ale and then suddenly feeling like I’m going to pass out because I’m surrounded by people and it’s late and I don’t know how to dance and I’m worried someone I don’t know will touch me. I bring my Kindle with me just in case I can find somewhere to hide and read for a while but forget that I have trouble breathing inside, not just finding a quiet dark place. I try to convince myself each time it’s going to be fine, but at 11 PM I’m suddenly reminded why I never leave the house. Macklemore’s rap is very dumb, but I think he excels at dumb raps like this — nobody else would be able to do this feature justice. “I Don’t Belong In This Club” ends up being a wee bit too bombastic for its own good, but I feel known by a Why Don’t We song, and I’m both impressed and deeply ashamed about that.

Reader average: [2.33] (6 votes)

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5 Responses to “Why Don’t We & Macklemore – I Don’t Belong In This Club”

  1. i assume there was some technological glitching with katherine’s blurb but i kind of like it as-is because “completely indefensible, and yet” is more or less my feelings on this song

  2. Aoh, no glitching, it is terrible and yet a [6]

  3. missed blurbing this mostly because i can’t put into words how much i love macklemore’s verse here

  4. wow this is not the first thing to make me think “i did NOT sleep well last night” today but it is the most embarrassing

  5. Alfred, I understand that the original name of the group was “Why Don’t We @ Macklemore”