An American Girl dives into her memory’s museum, dreaming a scheme within a scene … gaze into the gallery, and open your lens wide; when we recognize our body as the battlefield, so too we realize the weapon of our mind …
A nation’s mythology remastered as a people’s history for the record, and her story prevails because they could not wreck her …
Our anthem opens on the bellowing chords of a requiem dirge, as tonal solemnity echoes …
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I shall die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
… and so, we bathe in baptismal blessing before the beat drops into our anatomy of bombastic awakening … embarking on this battleground body, to liberate miraculous from the indentured servitude of said battlefield curse:
I, I keep a record of the wreckage in my life
Halsey: coming of age in the Bush Era of Post-9/11 America… where within, without, above, below, beneath, and beyond each moment of triumph, trauma, trial, tribulation, and experienced existence remained the overarching mantra, the prescription to a nation on the edge — between the wake of era-defining crisis and the dawn of intersocial psychological warfare: “Never forget.” And then, the shown world collapsed into itself, reality devolved into spectacle, human lives relegated to disposable entertainment, morality plays wrapped in endless media cycles, crystal balls and cautionary tales as two sides of the same coin, intellectual property replacing independent thought and personal privacy …
To come of age in this world, to develop one’s sense of self — form, function, purpose, pursuit of happiness — in and of this manipulated society, required submission to the senseless destruction of self-worth in pursuit of a patriarch’s profit margin and political pole position… to forget nothing, except your own higher calling in the face of an ever-descending bottom line.
That very prescription is predicated upon acquired amnesia, to consume and contain the sensory barrage of hyperreality … to never forget each instance of sensory overload, is to erode into erasure any semblance of functional cognition — and that’s … kind of the point: the lobotomy by proxy, to opiate the masses into oblivion by way of hypermediated osmosis — after all, a sedated nation can’t put up a fight, and history won’t remember if the marginalized have-nots can’t record the fall.
But what happens when the kids outlive the conquerors’ ultimatum… when damsels eschew distress in the wake of a new dawn, when they remember the wreckage, and each fingerprint on the digits of their transgressors … Each little Miss American Dream manifests said chimera into the incumbent master’s living nightmare: lucid dreaming into waking life, curtains up: here, Halsey pivots the limelight.
I gotta recognize the weapon in my mind …
Each lyric lives as a scene in modern mythology, a page from the script of America the drifted. Effectually, this self-described, socially-appointed nightmare is the surgically-precise undoing of an Establishment’s false flag, from the enacted perspective of an Anti-Pop princess … a guerrilla kid serving obiter dicta from within industry chambers: literacy locked and loaded, let’s read.
Corporate media, America’s very own myth-maker within a makeshift monarchy, drops their mic into the hands of a leather-bound living citizen journal; as Hebdige’s subculture returns in style, recoding meaning in glitter-bombed graffiti-licked guise …
I’ve tasted blood and it is sweet / I’ve had the rug pulled beneath my feet
That red carpet massacre … black tears, white tissues, and hard-pressed red dead eviction from celebratory grace should you exercise agency outside the given agenda … such is the manufactured reality of modern celebrity, and central to said schema is the defining duality: between private investment and public service. This crux resides at that amplified axis of publicity, contingent upon the enacted crucible of fame itself. That razor-thin line between puppetry and agency is so very tense and palpable, and so is its eternal narrative-driving inquiry: how will these vessels of commercial artistry maneuver between their dual-residency, between the sweets and the streets: on one hand, as corporate sales representatives — brand ambassadors of global industry — and on the other, as cultural icons — de facto elected officials of the audience constituency … will they give in, or show out:
That public figuration, voice amplification and undivided attention, wields power — cultural capital, socio-political primacy, beyond conventional currency — and should you step out of line, should you drop the curtain on the wizard, should you flip the written script for the sake of forward paid agency to your audience constituency … should you speak truth to power at the expense of your own public image: that soapbox will become a sarcophagus, those field reporters will transform into a firing squad, and that carpet will bleed red with the martyred corpse of your past celebrity … that rug, though, when they pull that piece, pilot the phoenix #bitedownandtakethecrown
A signed music artist is an independent contractor by law, and hired help by practice of high society … your paycheck isn’t your purpose. If you’re an artist worth your weight in canvas, you work your way to cultural saturation, and then you reveal in order to release — you serve your fellow public servant, and flip the incumbent hierarchy. Usurp the C-Suite: make yourself indispensable to a transactional industry of human currency, in order to become the means of production, and reclaim your time when you reclaim said self… and when you bite the producer’s hand that once did feed, how sweet the taste of sangre on the palate, the aroma of breaking free, in a standing reminder to the supervisor that registers oh so civilly:
* * *
… and now, for some just funnin’ with the fundamentals: riffs on linguistic rhythms and footnotes on lyrical free verse
Come on little lady, give us a smile / No, I ain’t got nothing to smile about
The Unpressed Secretary of Aggro-culture opens the floor to questions, echoing elder poster children’s flared remarks regarding proper press protocol for emerging baronesses of pop regency (in the paraphrased lyrical guidance of a literal little Lady, and a most supreme Spearit); namely, when industry-appointed papas and sordid self-serving razzi tell you to hand over a plastered-on happy facade: face loaded asks with the poker mask, blackout the flash, and leave the straw men to shadowbox a mannequin.
… pivot role model rapport. Remind the media from beneath your guise that when you live your life as face and fodder of serialized news, land of “if it bleeds, it leads,” as the hemorrhaging embodiment of a human-interest feed — it really makes no sense to smile; but once you break free, feel free to flash the fangs and show your teeth.
That being said, in this coliseum culture of surveillance Spectacle society, it’s one thing to answer inquiries, another entirely to make sport of inquirers — brass tacks: let’s have some fun, this news beat is sick. So, when you make it from the pin-up penitentiary to the mass pop pulpit — preach the virtues of priceless patience:
I got no one to smile for / I’ve waited a while for
A moment to say: “I don’t owe you a goddxxn thing”
… and so it glows, victory goes to she who yields: outlive the oppressor, to know that you can is your sword and shield; then, when that moment of clarity finally comes: take the mic, and check the mate.
I keep my exes in check in my basement
‘Cause kindness is weakness / or worse, you’re complacent
#bam Welcome to the dollhouse: bourgeoisie rebel regal residence; the proletariat penthouse, founded on catacombs of former courtiers. Here, new magistrates hold court and handle public opinion on ruins of evicted ex-landlords; now, our news round-table has turned — watch and learn. In the past words of John Brown, and present displays of Ashley Frangipane, “The United States is a place where the men govern, but the women rule;” indeed. Now then, let’s pull up a chair, and check the balance sheet: knowledge is power, education is the motivation, literacy works, and the girl can read. #youknoweyescribedanger
I could play nice, or I could be a bully / I’m tired and angry, but somebody should be
Lil’ princess Peabody turns founding fathers to sons with declarative independence, and inks b-side amendments to select cuts from medieval bedtime stories’ greatest hits … If you thought the nightmare was terrific, polish off that nightcap, and tuck in for the lullabies #putthatlifelineonanurseryrhyme Connecting dots and pop aughts one constellation at a time.
Gather ‘round the bonfire, literati kids, for an off-handed riff … on how a happenstance old world storytellers’ apprentice harks a brigade, and handles the inheritance…
Mother Goose’s black swan progeny marches on eggshell-lined runways and takes flight:
I’ve trusted lies and trusted men / Broke down and put myself back together again
… Americostocracy sat on a wall, under trump they had a great fall; all the king’s forces and all the king’s men, couldn’t put the ‘risocrats together again.
Fairies buried beneath Grimm’s hallowed tales emerge from gilded graves:
No, I won’t smile, but I’ll show you my teeth / And I’ma let you speak if you just let me breathe
… as the she-wolf appears in riding hood’s crimson, grills gleaming — “but,” some wonder, “why oh why such big teeth?” All the better to eat the rich decadence of pork-bellied patriarchy with: #blowthehousedown … #clubkidsriseup
Minnie claims vengeance in revised visions reversing Walt’s princesses, doctoring the spin on a Disney about face:
Stared in the mirror and punched it to shatters / Collected the pieces and picked out a dagger
#applestoapples but Sleeping Beauty rang: said Mattress Queen weaponized her trauma and woke the beast within #upandout
I’ve been polite, but won’t be caught dead / Letting a man tell me what I should do with my bed
… laying down the law; leaving Johnny long-arm well-rested, in pieces.
Rapunzel, Rapunzel sits in her lair, thinking: “What other excesses have I to spare?”
I’ve pinched my skin in between my two fingers / And wished I could cut some parts off with some scissors
Ruminating a little nip here, a touch of tuck there … pinch thee: she’s scheming — dosed on dysmorphic in the age of cosmetic neuroplasticity. #glitchthematrix #refreshthemotherboard
Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card… because some stay writing, reading, please thinking of the children #ittakesavillagepeople
What piques most about this entirety, is that each thread within said tapestry is a realized threat — each point posited is a pact promise, from the rising iconoclass of those who pledged allegiance for the record, to transcend doomed history, in the name of never forget …
Someone like me can be a real nightmare, completely aware
But I’d rather be a real nightmare than die unaware, yes
“Someone like me…” how beautiful said oath in its encompassing simplicity. This modern world suspended in separation perfected, a neo-liberal capitalist marketplace subsisting as a globalized machine more free than human citizenry… where digital divides determine your given placement along silicon-coded caste fault lines, where duality is the fundamental determinate, where artificial alliances depend on inflamed narcissism of minor differences, where broken bodies cling to inherited assumption of inherent divisibility. This imperialist scope of puritanical patriarchy is so very palpable and tense, and yet so very crucially fragile in its overarching deliberate negligence. Here though, in this futuristic flicker frame, as a cosmic mantis courses over her sonic bridge, and yonder through social complexes, we are reminded, once again, of that looming reality … that what is normal for the spider:
… is chaos for the fly; or, more immediately: what is but a dream for the girl, can be a nightmare for the guy …
“Someone like me…” someone like Halsey, someone like any girl, woman, living figure featured in this sequence of scenes … is that very nightmare manifest, that very nocturnal terror made real, that very whisper to click-clique boom artistic revolution through the potential of pop: that very could be anything… the very reason our caged ravens sing, our nation’s very own valkyries echoing forgotten frequencies in order to reawaken natural forms, infiltrating through sensory experience the inner workings of our manufactured society…
Someone like… the Miss American Dream team — roll call: someone like said Edison daughter’s Jersey-born sister “I, every woman, believe the children are our future: star-spangled bangers salute and soar” Whitney, someone like “Nothing is real but the girl, only her eyes are solid, nothing is real but her, anytime the hunter gets captured by the game” Debbie …
… someone like “I’m wanted more than ever now, I realize that they ain’t listenin’, like a princess sposed to get it, that’s why I’m dustin’ off my fitted; now I hold ‘em at attention, ‘cos new B is on a mission … no wonder there’s panic in the industry, I mean: please” Britney, someone like “Y’all should know me well enough, please don’t call me on my bluff … ballin’ bigger than any don” RihRih, someone like “Liza told me to fxxk ‘em up, Duke said never give up — so, watch me dance on a single prayer in the cultural sense: future blitz” lil’ lady Gg: someone like any and every iteration of all of the above — that self-perpetuating living, breathing, ever-evolving united entity, of an artist and their steadfast audience constituency of comrades-made-kin … with all the things the collective she said, tattooed on a unified psyche …
… and so, once again, Ellison echoes … “The penalty for wakefulness is to encounter ever more violence and horror than the sensibilities can sustain, unless translated into some form of social action. … Here, it could be seen that the true function of her singing is not simply to entertain, but … with effects of voice and rhythm to evoke a shared community of experience.”
Never forget … the backstory of those starseeds generating these rhythmic roots, seminal sparks buried beneath a wayward society’s latent sediment … awaken that anamnesis when witnessing terrestrial daughters of the divine feminine emerge from asphalt in ascendant solidarity.
Someone like me can be a real nightmare, completely aware
But I’m glad to be a real nightmare, so save me your prayers
Elation celebration along tidal tales and lunar lines; Alleluia.
“Those left standing will wake millions scribing hooks on the way she absolves the sin…” and so, from the ruin and rubble of an ivory tower and alabaster residence collapsed, burgeons to fruition the terra nova range of a new world’s rose garden.
And I realize…
I’m no sweet dream but I’m a hell of a night
That I’m no sweet dream but I’m a hell of a night
… distant echoes linger in the air of a stifling status quo, hovering over a shoulder and whispering in her ear, “Don’t go out alone at night; there’s danger in the dark, and everything to fear,” to which the denizen damsel replies, “Danger is my mother’s maiden name, and – oh wait, I am the night — don’t forget to take care.” #burgeonmother #ohhowmarey
Personified amalgam of 1987, Baltimore, Atlanta, DC, Manhattan, London, Los Angeles and American pop culture. Language artist within a capacity, drummer by passion, Pop savant by preordination, Media Master by dictate of scholastic artisans and scientists, and culture scribe by necessity. I freelance life.