Photo courtesy of pitchfork.com
San Marino High School

Clairo is just another privileged singer

“Life is unfair”: the phrase is no stranger to anyone; after all, the world is always either working for or against you. Skin color and wealth are merely two of the absurd characteristics that dictate how successful an individual is, and it seems like Clairo, your stereotypical YouTube-acclaimed artist, has been taking advantage of both with the aid of her father, Geoff Cottrill.  

Coverage can’t be that hard to get when your father already has connections with music marketing platforms (i. e. The Fader”) and monopoly companies like Coca-Cola and Starbucks of course.

Headline after headline begin to roll in as a result. But do any of them have any real substance, a praise that can’t be bought by the influence of a parent?

Pigeons & Planes covers the singer with a tinge of generic fodder by applauding an authenticity that is prevalent with both popular artists and their lesser-known counterparts: “Meet Clairo, the Lo-Fi Bedroom Singer/Songwriter Who Went Viral By Being Herself.” From the “first major heartbreak” of Lorde’s “Green Light,” to the devastating one-night stand recounted in Blaise Moore’s EP “LAURENCE,” countless performers have been able to win the hearts of audiences with vulnerability and artistic integrity. So why does the fact that Clairo is “being herself” qualify her for a headline?

It doesn’t. Clairo is not some forerunner for individuality in the music industry, and her feature on Pigeons & Planes appears to be nothing more than gratuitous for a blasé storyline. Guitar covers on a YouTube channel before becoming a sensation with one single? Sounds like Halsey with Soundcloud single “Ghost,” but she never gained the traction Clairo currently has until she released her debut EP (probably because Halsey’s dad wasn’t a well-versed figure in music advertising).

Then there’s Pitchfork’s facade of an article, labeled  “Meet Clairo, the YouTube Star Turning Teenage Awkwardness Into Viral Gold” and teeming with overstatements. Just look at its subtitle, which says that Clairo is “shaking up the pop landscape” when the “bedroom-pop” singer’s sound is anything but avant-garde.

Her synth-propelled track “Pretty Girl” almost has carbon-copy production of Frankie Cosmos’ “Young” (I guess when Clairo cited Cosmos as an inspiration, it wasn’t only limited to lyricism) and makes me wonder why this college freshman was chosen to open for Tyler, the Creator when all she has to offer (as of right now) is truisms and been-there, done-that ambiences. Clairo’s on-screen “awkwardness” is not the first of its kind either, giving it no further reason to become “viral gold” than the quirky makeup tutorial/bathroom groove sesh in “Last Breath,” a track made by Korean-American artist/DJ Yaeji.

Perhaps Clairo will prove worthy of all the visibility she’s been receiving now later on when the path she treads might be her own. But today, she’s just Daddy’s Little Girl.

2 Comments

  • Reply Sarah Wang April 6, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    WOAH, totally did not know these things about Clairo. I remember when Pretty Girl first came out and it was my anthem for such a long time. Interesting article Austin!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reply Austin Nguyen April 8, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      AH! Thanks Sarah :) I didn’t know either until I did some digging and was pretty SHOOK

      Like

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