DJ @George_Costanza - "My Friend Zone Over You" Pop Punk Mix
One tired trope of the media is an insistence that hip hop is a singularly misogynistic genre, rampantly tearing down women and focusing greatly on status (usually within hip hop itself, but also with regards to general wealth). Though these criticisms are valid and it’s hardly a closed conversation, I’ve always found it odd that a genre that has served as a space for as much empowerment as hip hop has (for African-Americans and increasingly other racial minorities, as well as women and LGBTQ members on some occasions) is so easily dismissed by certain circles of cultural critics, especially given that there are myriad examples of extreme misogyny with little merit outside blind hedonism in rock music. One particularly offensive genre in this area is pop punk. It actually has a lot in common with hip hop on the surface - lyrics about status again (though this time, there is a competition to see who can “defend pop punk” the best by cleansing it of the impurities hurled at it by, say, emo and “emo” music), rabid fanbases and big crossover acts and lots and lots of woman hating. The only big non-aesthetic difference to wit is the fact that pop punk does little but uplift and celebrate straight white middle class dudes who are suffering from extreme sexual frustration. Yep, definitely comparable to systemic racism, and the boys don’t even have to worry about critique from major culture outlets.
UNTIL NOW! Enter DJ @George_Costanza’s latest mix, "My Friend Zone Over You." The pop punk mix celebrates the little moments in pop punk from the nineties up through the present, compiling the best of Sum41, Fall Out Boy, Blink-182 and more. Such unforgettable lines as Brand New’s “And you can think of me when you forget your seatbelt, and again when your head goes through the windshield” are rendered here in an ethereal, timeless space alongside skinny jeans, crumpled beer cans, shitty old guitars and repeated exclamations from Seinfeld's own closet woman-hater, who just past the halfway point of the mix exclaims that we are too see a new, independent George. Shredding guitars collide into one another as the mix hops seamlessly from track to track, occasionally interrupted only by interjections of the DJ's name (handle?) and the muted repetitions of an anonymous, presumably pop-punk-adoring female alternately wishing she'd be taken just as seriously for listening to just as much music as the boys (you can practically feel the bands' tunes shouting her down at these points) or exclaiming “I love this band!”
Honestly, as a Situationist creation in the vein of Negativland’s culture jamming slabs before it, "My Friend Zone Over You" is genius. The humor is regularly spot-on, and the choice to go with the DIS-y aesthetic of setting everything behind a palpable layer of radio waves contextualizes the works as what they are: detritus from a culture that couldn’t give less of a fuck about their politics or ideology. They’re just dumb kids with guitars, love ‘em or hate ‘em, after all! This aesthetic choice, along with the constant drop-ins of DJ @George_Costanza help to make listeners physically aware of everything they are hearing without sounding like a tired rant.
The mix is fun, for damn sure, while also having a dark layer that lurks very close below the surface so that the thing doesn’t just play to an in-crowd of pop punk dismissers. In fact, as someone who enjoys an occasional pop punk record or two, it gave me the same feelings Blue Velvet tends to to male audiences during the first time Jeffrey plays voyeur to a rape: small amounts of titillation at the horrors unfolding that serve better than any feminist literature to ingrain a deep consciousness of maleness’s own deeply-rooted grotesqueness and a new (or amplified) visceral dread of further replications of its blemishes. That kind of political action through rendering new contexts is exactly what good art is all about.
listen to this mix here