When it debuted sometime in 2006 — I’ve forgotten when and don’t care to look it up — Brooke Hogan's single “About Us” was probably the worst song I’d ever heard, ever. (Ever.) “I’m just trying to live but you’re all up in my grill,” she sang, and conintued to blab about how difficult her life is as a silver platter pop singer who no one gives a fuck about. (“How’s a girl to breath with all the media staring down my mouth?”) I wasn’t hoping to take her seriously. But I want my superficial chips with the zingiest of cheeze dip, you know? If Brooke’s going to pursue a career as a rootless celebrity baller with tinfoil caps wrapped around her incisors, she needs to push that aesthetic until it’s skidding on the crumbling edge of
whatever. Bling. Pop Trash. Comedy, even. “About Us” fails because Brooke’s just mouthing the words. She doesn’t own her own shittiness, and which she needs to before we’ll ever buy stock in her gold nugget crap.
Tila Tequila owns her own shittiness.
“Hold up you think I’m trippin’ now,” Tila begins on “I Love U,” her debut single. (You knew her previously as a MySpace friend-add queen and occasional Playboy and sports car convention model.) But that lyric's nothing; it only hits Hogan levels of catty, and that’s not enough when the bitchy-cute face of JoJo lurks around every corner.
But Tila knows this, too. She knows that we know that her ballerness exists only in the taint between the ‘Approve’ or ‘Deny’ tabs on her MySpace page. And that's why she brings it to new levels of weird-hard in the chorus.
Because I’m the crazy bitch that’s running the game
Because I’m the crazy bitch that’s calling your name
Because I’m the crazy bitch I ain’t got no shame
I will fuck you up.
Then there’s a bunch of yelling on the track, like maybe all the people Tila fucked up previously suddenly stormed into Lil Jon’s studio with torches and upraised stanchions. (Crowd: “We wanna fuck you up Tila!” Tila: “I wanna fuck you up too!”)
But then Tila turns around and gets all breathy. “I love you (or U),” she coos repeatedly. “I love you.”
Wait, what? Maybe it's due to the track's cell phone release setup (ADD and shitty download rates), but Tila’s suddenly turned the tables on the about-to-be-fucked-up. It's a relationship gone south and north in the space of a few seconds. “I know I said I’d chain your mom to a radiator honey,” we can imagine her saying if this was, you know, an actual song. “But what I really meant was I Heart U.” This last couplet she would spell out in the air before her, or maybe in the condensation on a nearby windowpane.
But "I Love U” isn't a song. It’s a download of readymade attitude for your mobile device, which of course by association means you. Brooke Hogan is trying to ball. But she doesn’t have the stones to get rid of that awkward pop song apparatus and simply state the obvious. In comparison, Tila knows that the obvious, superficial, flimsy, and foul-mouthed is all she really has to offer.
The press release announcing the “I Love U” clip tries to acknowledge this.
“The phenomenon of Tila Tequila is a story of being an icon of the cultural zeitgeist where the lines of pop culture, personal technology and raw talent intertwine to yield a feisty, magnetic pop music star on the verge,” it reads, refusing to define “raw talent” as it relates to its subject. “Icon” and “zeitgeist” shouldn’t be thrown around casually, either, especially by PR flacks. But Tila did make it into Time's recent gush over Web 2.0, so that at least stretches the area between her MySpace approval tabs a little bit.