Alice Ratcliffe is a third year English student, and whilst this has blessed her with an irreplaceable ability to make the work of the good people over at Wikipedia.com seem like her own, it has also armed her with the tools to ruthlessly dismantle the most banal and inane qualities of popular culture. This week she disseminates Jessie J’s ‘It’s My Party’.
“If you’re wondering if I give a damn, well, I do not.”
I wasn’t actually. Wondering, I mean. I wasn’t wondering if you give a damn at all to be honest Jessie J. And to be really honest… I don’t care. But thanks for confirming. You’ve made it very clear that you don’t give a damn.
And yet, I can’t help but wonder why someone who is apparently so absolutely give a damn-less (or un-give a damn-able if you’d rather) would feel the need to write a whole song about that very thing? Surely that somewhat undermines this carefree/damn-free attitude you’re attempting to portray? You know, the fact that you’ve sat at home and gone to all the effort of writing an entire three verse song, catchy chorus, punchy bridge, the full works… surely that just demonstrates to whoever this nonchalance is aimed at that said-nonchalance is actually just a papery façade behind which you are lurking, very much giving a lot of damns… Do you not think?
Personally, if I didn’t care about a person or their opinion of me I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t write a song about just how little I cared because, call me crazy (or ‘cray! cray! cray!’ if you like…) but that just seems ever so slightly paradoxical and, what with the clever workings of reverse psychology and all that, they might get the wrong idea and accidentally think that through my attempt to prove that I’m over them via the medium of writing a pop song what I’ve actually done is in fact fully confirmed that I’m not over them at all in any way shape or form… Hmm, I don’t know.
Speaking of being ‘over’ people, who is this song actually aimed at? An ex-lover? A spiteful ex-bestfriend? I can’t really say I’m sure, because early on you set up the rather odd premise that ‘you’re stuck in the playground and I’m a grown woman now’ (with ‘you’ relating to the intended recipient of nonchalance and the ‘I’ referring to you, Jessie J, the protagonist).
Now, this lyric puts me in something of a predicament. Either I’m missing some cleverly thought-out metaphor representing your continuing moral growth and blossoming maturity as a human being, whilst this person remains trapped in an inescapable rut forged of their own juvenile naivety, or – as it seems unlikely that I wouldn’t spot such carefully crafted symbolism – the more plausible option that you’re just bullying a schoolchild. Yes, some little kid just having fun at lunchtime and there you are, standing on the other side of the fence, warbling at them. ‘Why you acting like you’re tough?!’ Probably because they’re scared of you Jessie, with your big scary eyes, and they just want to get back to playing ponies with their friends.
So just lay off the taunting… it’s not big, it’s not cool, it’s just a bit mean. And it forces me to question why? Does picking on more vulnerable types make you feel better about yourself? I wouldn’t be surprised. Because I’m starting to get the impression that behind the big mouth you’re actually slightly insecure. I’ll let you in on how I know. It’s this whole string of needy questions: ‘You think I speak too much?’ ‘You think I tweet too much?’ ‘You think my clothes are too crazy?’ followed by the, rather blunt, refrain ‘I DON’T CARE! I DON’T CARE!’ (made all the more punchy by the repeat I can assure you).
Now that’s all well and good but…we’re the ones who don’t care. Seriously. Nobody has accused you of any of these things. Chill out with the paranoia woman! And all the self-deprecation-cum-self-adoration of how ‘you know you have faults but you don’t let them drag you down,’ well, it’s just a little bit boring. Yes, I said it. So, I know it’s your party and therefore you are fully entitled to ‘do-do what you want’ but maybe it’s time to stop dancing alone, stop putting up all of these emotional smokescreens and just call it a night.