Friday, September 13th, 2019

Benny Blanco & Juice WRLD – Graduation

Vitamin F…


Will Adams: A series of “what if”‘s manifested, each one worse than the last. What if Juice WRLD sang “Graduation (Friends Forever)”? What if one recreated the spoken outro from “Gossip Folks” except not funny? What if you cast yourself in your high school movie cliché video as a teacher who claims to have slept with the popular clique? What if that were meant to be a joke instead of horrifying? What if music was a mistake?

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Just like everything Benny Blanco does, “Graduation” is both desperate and incompetent. Releasing a song that samples “Graduation (Friends Forever)” in a desperate ploy to get played at edgy grad parties? Desperate. Doing so in September, months and months away from any graduation of note? Incompetent. Getting Juice WRLD, the rap-scene embodiment of teen angst, on your high school grad party banger? Desperate. Letting him do a verse that makes him sound like he’s simultaneously still in high school and like he’s never been and has based his portrayal on teen movies from 2005? Incompetent. Benny Blanco and Juice WRLD are both artists that are easy to come down on for moral reasons of misogyny and for making music for teenagers, but “Graduation” sucks even as a dumb, hateful song for teens. It’s neutered and rote, the kind of music that you can’t even act out to well. It’s as if Blanco tried to reverse-engineer his way to relatability, but failed to even follow that path properly. It’s a song for no-one, a bad time for all.

Ian Mathers: Both Vitamin C and Animal House-style freeze frames deserve better.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The Vitamin C interpolation is crass, but it’s intentional: Juice WRLD does a reversal of that song’s anticipatory nostalgia and draws a line between miserable adolescent experiences and life thereafter (hence the crucial change from “As our lives change/Come whatever” to “As our lives change/From whatever”). This is a song for high school students, sure, but it’s mostly for those who have survived their teens to find that Adult Life can be much of the same. Your high school graduation may be in the past, but the drudgery of life now comes without a summer break; to release this song around the time high schools commence points to that grim reality. It feels as juvenile as the numerous high school/college films of the 1990s/2000s, which consequently makes it feel like one of the most blink-182 songs that Juice WRLD has made to date. If the Can’t Hardly Wait-inspired “Going Away to College” was Mark Hoppus thinking about the transition from high school to college, then “Graduation” is Juice WRLD thinking about the transition from high school to the working world.

Michael Hong: INTRODUCTION: In 1999, Vitamin C released the infamous “Graduation (Friends Forever),” which depending on your experience of elementary school is a warm slice of nostalgia or was a slightly annoying mainstay of eighth grade. Benny Blanco samples this for his collaboration with Juice WRLD. METHODS: Juice WRLD raps petty jabs at former classmates, completely atonal to the theme of the sampled track. Somehow worse? Benny Blanco invites a friend on probably the most inessential spoken word bit ever shoehorned into a track that takes it to new levels of disturbingly appalling. RESULTS: A completely embarrassing trainwreck. CONCLUSION: Benny Blanco and Juice WRLD peaked in high school.

Isabel Cole: The juxtaposition of “Graduation”‘s mawkish earnestness with gleefully juvenile vindictiveness is funny enough that I laughed out loud, and I like the exhausted way he grates through all the TIMES we spent toGETHer. Unfortunately the bland sentimentality of the second verse is less appealing than the mean-spirited swagger of the first, and the whole thing is bogged down by vocal warps that don’t add anything and casual misogyny. There’s a whole thesis in the fact that two male artists chose to cap off a song about the myopia of high school misery with a skit about catty teenage girls.

Joshua Lu: If you’re going to flip Vitamin C’s classic into a raunchy and douchey “fuck you” to high school bullshit, you could at least make it funny and not reliant on tired misogyny. I’m concerned Lil Dicky is becoming an influence.

Alfred Soto: I counted twenty seconds before the bittersweet sing-song melody yielded to insulting the bitch for the crime of being poor. But never fear! He wants credit for yielding to the jungle fever. I like pettiness and dumb hooks as much as the next fellow, but “Graduation” insists on a sincerity that would’ve horrified the Beastie Boys in 1986. 

William John: I can handle the delivery of the chorus of Vitamin C’s high school standard in a mannish howl, as it sounds not unlike the throng of boys who shouted it arm-in-arm at my final high school assembly many years ago. Overlaying it with urgent, gulping, very loud breathing noises is, however, an unconscionable triggering of my misophonia.

Joshua Copperman: So this is what Booksmart was to people that hated Booksmart.

Scott Mildenhall: American pop culture does such a great job of making America seem horrible that it’s a wonder reality even tries to match it. The obsession with graduations is but one tiny part of it, but Juice WRLD touches on plenty of the other cultural clichés that make American school seem at best wearing and at worst terrifying: proms, intercoms and threats of bombs. “Graduation” is rank, all told, but maybe the country should take some of the blame.

Reader average: [0.75] (4 votes)

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4 Responses to “Benny Blanco & Juice WRLD – Graduation”

  1. the controversy is higher than the score. god bless

  2. “dull, tired, grumpy skin” mood

  3. “sucks even as a dumb, hateful song for teens” is EXACTLY it

  4. artists who’ve scored under 2.00 multiple times
    – Lukas Graham
    – Juice WRLD

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