Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Scrobbling Avril Lavigne

April 10: heard this on my car radio the other day. I'm so in touch with youth culture! My admin assistant Lindsay found the lyrics to Avril Lavigne’s catchy new number 'Girlfriend' for me, courtesy of Yahoo. Here's a typical specimen of the teenspeak the sk8r girl uses so compellingly (is this Valley Girl speak, or grunge-meets-pop?):

Hey! Hey! You! You! I don't like your girlfriend! No way! No way! I think you need a new one Hey! Hey! You! You! I could be your girlfriend …[etc]
I think about ya all the time You're so addictive ...(parental advisory bits censored)[Bridge] She's like SO WHATEVER You could do so much better I think we should get together now And that's what everyone's talking about! …She's so stupid What the hell were you thinking?! [repeat]
Inspired stuff. I posted this on my college VLE forum, when I researched Ms Lavigne’s ‘whatever’ usage:
Further to my posting yesterday : one site I tried is Last.fm, which introduced me to my new word of the day: 'scrobble'...Here's how UrbanDictionary defines it:
1. When Last.fm automatically sends the name of each song played by audio player, they call this “scrobbling.”
The application will scrobble your playlist.
2. Can replace most verbs to indicate that an action has been performed, and that it has been logged or recorded by a 'scrobbler', which is a system that records whatever you're scrobbling, although the scrobbler may not necessarily exist.
If you played 64 games of Fifa 98: Road To World Cup, you could say "I scrobbled Fifa 64 times today." Or if you were on the phone, you could say "I was updating my PhoneScrobbler".

There are more usages and an etymology, but like parts of ‘Girlfriend’, these are parental advisory. Here’s some of my students’ responses…
'My brother has an account with last.fm, which is so annoying cos it makes my computer at home so damn slow, seeming he downloaded the software to go with it, but still! He always uses the word scrobble now, like he uses it for everything! [Note the teen-usage of ‘like’ there!]
It's a very good site mind, there is absolutely everything on there music-wise! You can even have your own top ten, depending on what you have listened to the most.
As has already been said, when you listen to music using a comouter (sic) music player such as iTunes, the music will be recorded as listened onto your account, thus being scrobbled, then put into the chart.
But me being me, listened to some songs [which I am not even going to explain as they are bad] and was accidentally logged into his account. He then had random music which is so not cool to have showing on his profile and got told off by him! Well if he was clever enough he would have logged out! Sorry, having a rant.'
And this from another: 'I personally hate this song and wish Avril Lavigne would hurry up and decide if she's a goth, a sk8r or a Paris Hilton wannabe! Oh yeah, and addictive doesn't rhyme with delicious!' (If she can rhyme ‘whatever’ with ‘better’, why not? Look at Byron’s ‘Don Juan’ if you really want to see some deliberately off-beat rhymes!!)
Sorry if all this sounds too trivial as we approach exams, but I do think this could be useful for language and representation (the grungy girl subverts gender stereotypes…or does she?); language change (following on from Dan’s recent fascinating post about the history of ‘whatever’; then there's all that usage of 'like', number homophones, shared cultural references, etc.). So academic rigour is sustained, and teacher’s cool credentials … probably shot. Ms Lavigne, sk8r or Paris Hilton, does seem to be going down the ‘Hey Mickey’ pop stream (or is that ‘drain’??)

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