THE STUMP DECEMBER 5, 2011
Want a mindbender? Go read Jonah Weiner's featured piece in Slate today on the party rock crew LMFAO, the uncle-nephew duo whose younger member was the fine fellow involved in the 2010 air-rage altercation with Mitt Romney that I describe in the current cover story. Chances are, you know as little about LMFAO as I did before I went to a show of theirs in Silver Spring two weeks ago, hoping to score an interview with the Romney assailant, Sky Blu. Well, here's a quick primer: Sky Blu and his uncle Redfoo (not their real names!) are the son and grandson of Motown legend Berry Gordy; yes, the group's name stands for the vulgar texting acronym that you think it does; their latest hit, "Sexy and I Know It" is now number two in the charts.
But oh, that doesn't even begin to capture it. Read the Slate piece and think to yourself a) what it was like for this sober, gray-templed reporter to find himself in a sold-out show taking in charming ballads like "I Am Not a Whore" and "Put That Ass to Work," even before the show-ending moment when uncle and nephew strip to their bikini briefs and b) how utterly mind-blowing it is that Sky Blu was in close airplane quarters with one Willard Mitt Romney, much less in the same space-time continuum as him (a fact that Weiner for some reason neglects to mention.)
A brief foretaste:
...LMFAO are party rappers. They aren’t good at crafting rhymes so much as slinging together clichés and delivering them so vigorously that it doesn’t matter: They brag about being “up in the party,” looking “fresh to death” and getting it “on and poppin’ ” while “the bass is knocking.” Their individual personalities are largely indistinct, but in “Yes,” Redfoo plays the cad to Sky Blu’s softie. Picturing the good life, Redfoo imagines a team of women bathing him and declaring, “Your royal penis is clean”; in Sky Blu’s dream-world, “Grandma’s cooking breakfast, she makes pancakes the best/ I check my MySpace and I got a lot of friend requests.” (Aim high!) ...
...In the “Champagne Showers” video, Redfoo and Sky Blu do a lurid bottle-popping pantomime: Holding imaginary bottles at crotch level, they jerk them back and forth a couple times before sending the invisible contents spraying with a comically graceful arc of the hand. You can picture Andy Samberg kicking himself for not having thought of it first.
For all their talk of lady-killing, LMFAO cultivate a certain circle-jerk-at-the-treehouse ambience, which the “Champagne Showers” dance almost literalizes. It’s also on display in the video for “La La La,” where Redfoo and Sky Blu, hanging around the house together in their underwear, use a computer to create the perfect babe, Weird Science-style; in the “Shots” video, where they splash vodka into each other’s open mouths and are mock-fellated while standing side-by-side; in the “Yes” video, where Redfoo caps off a locker-room pep talk about “swallowing” adversity with a “no homo” amen that makes the whole thing 0 percent less gay. And it’s in the Wiggle, of course—a pleasure best enjoyed while in possession of a penis and in close proximity to other penises. This all relates to a tension, at LMFAO’s core, between its two main influences: hip-hop’s bros-before-hoes braggadocio on the one hand and club music’s inclusive utopianism on the other.
Weiner's counterintuitive conclusion (hey, it's Slate!) is that there's an unappreciated "satire of manliness" underlying LMFAO. My conclusion is...man, what I would've given to be on that airplane.