When our future ancestors roam the smoldering wasteland that was once planet Earth, will they have MP3s? When the planet eventually succumbs to mega-tornadoes, super lightning, and when sunlight and vegetation are but a distant memory, will our vocabulary change? I like to imagine that that answer to both of these questions is “yes,” and that someday, the great-grandchildren of our current-day doomsday preppers will hear the word “Timber,” blissfully ignorant of the meaning it once held in relation to something once called a “tree,” and instead think only of Pitbull and Ke$ha’s ode to drunken one-night stands. Will man still debauch in the post-apocalypse?
Until that day arrives, “Timber” comes loaded with all the baggage of modern day music, heaped into one fascinating train-wreck of a song. It’s release date, October 7, 2013, is a date that the we all ought to note now. It’s The Day That the Genres Died (TDTGD).
“Timber” proves that we are at the End of History as far as music is concerned. Combining multiple genres is certainly nothing new, but having dubbed his latest album Global Warming: Meltdown Pitbull, in particular, appears to be one of the most Advanced humans living today. It’s a title that simultaneously calls to mind some sort of global Armageddon as well as the literal meltdown of music itself into a warm, gooey ball of uber-music. It’s sort of like the scene in Demolition Man where Sandra Bullock takes Sylvester Stallone out to a fancy dinner at Taco Bell, the winner of the “franchise wars.” In the future, all music is folktronica-honky-hoprock!
And there really are no better harbingers for TDTGD than Pitbull and Ke$ha. Here is a man who has parlayed minor notoriety the street-music circles of Miami rap into a hugely successful career that would ultimately blossom into highly polished, top-10 dance-pop sound. He perfected the genre-bending, crossover hit in the late-aughts. On “Timber,” Pitbull completes the process of ultimate genre destruction by enlisting Ke$ha, a suburban white girl who raps over EDM. “Timber” somehow combines all of these elements over a honky-tonk country riff, creating what might be last new genre we’re likely to get in pop music for the foreseeable future. We actually might get to the apocalypse before we get a return to a single-genre sound.
Pitbull, in this sense, is like the Nietzschean superman. Here, in one man, the Apollonian urge to create melds with Dionysiac urge to destroy. We are left with a pop song that presages the flat, indistinguishable future of top-100 pop music that awaits us all. Pitbull invites us to cast off the divisive chains of genre and good taste and embrace his new world, accessible only through the decimation of the old, where all people can get mad crunk and screw in perfect harmony.
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