If you’ve escaped the saxophone parps and speedy raps that make up Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’, enjoy it while it lasts. It’s an international success, having spent the last month at number one in America and topping the charts in Australia, France, Canada and New Zealand. The track hit the number one spot in the UK yesterday, beating ‘White Noise’, the genuinely excellent single from Disclosure and AlunaGeorge. Readers, there’s no escape.
‘Thrift Shop’ is an ode to charity shop chic. Macklemore has been criticised and praised for its lyrical content in equal measure. For everyone stating that lines like “Saving my money and I’m hella happy”, and “That’s bargain bitch I’ma take your grandpa’s style,” are patronising to those with no money and little choice but to shop in discount stores, there are others who think he’s a fresh alternative to rappers who walk around with massive bejeweled effigies of their own face hanging around their necks. One assumes they also believe David Guetta’s purpose is due to provide a hedonistic place for Brits to forget about interest rates and student loan repayments.
Yet Macklemore misses the point that those who shop at charity shops tend to be hipsters shopping for a new vintage t-shirt, not people looking to save money and avoid big name brands. His message is no more profound than the “wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care” sentiment of will.i.am et al. It’s a mind-numbingly inane, pseudo-intellectual travesty.
Perhaps it’s the novelty element that causes people to feel so strongly against ‘Thrift Store’. When LMFAO party-rocked their way into our lives in 2012 there was little advance warning, instead we were left to entertain the drunk and hairy goons at a party no one owns up to inviting. Macklemore is LMFAO Mark II.
Much of ‘Thrift Shop’s’ success is rooted in its “amusing” video with over 95m views. Expect that friend of yours from school you haven’t spoken to in five years to post it on Facebook with the caption “LOL, so random” in three months time. Surprisingly, despite looking, acting and seeming precisely like the kind of thing major labels spring on us with million dollar marketing campaigns, Macklemore is almost 100 per cent independent and only attracted interest from music industry giants when it looked as if success was close enough to touch.
Take comedy rap, add fancy dress and multiply it by mugging to camera and Macklemore is what you’re left with. What do you think? Is Macklemore the devil incarnate? Does he make rap music for people who don’t like rap music? Or is he just a plucky musician tasting long-awaited success? Either way, ‘Thrift Shop’ is undeniably the worst song of the year so far – and unfortunately it’s here to stay.