When you watch the video for Dixie D'Amelio's "One Whole Day," the YouTube algorithm does something really funny. The very next video it recommends for you is Bo Burnham's "That Funny Feeling" from his latest Netflix special, Inside.
This could be based on our own viewing, or it could be that even the same artificial intelligence that will one day swallow humanity's hope whole is trying to warn you about D'Amelio and musicians of her ilk.
Let's break down that bit of irony for those of you who are confused or have been graced with the good luck to have never heard D'Amelio's name or music. Burnham's song uses a beautiful guitar melody and witty lyrics to describe the impending doom amid a widespread nonchalant attitude toward global tragedies. D'Amelio uses grating electronic beats and tired, kindergarten grade rhymes to sing about the same kind of angry heartbreak that's been sung about since the days of the Dust Bowl. The only reason she's been given the chance to do it is because she's popular on the Internet, and more specifically, on TikTok.
The irony is that our calloused attitude toward true pain — as we ignore the world's suffering to focus on influencer lives — also elevates mediocrity to alarming levels of success to aspiring artists and their trite takes on the idea of pain.
D'Amelio's not the first person to take a crack at a music career simply because they're famous. She's just the latest in a long line of them including Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and even Mr. T. She is, however, one of the worst celebrities to make a transition to music and yes, we're including Mr. T in our scale.
All you've got to do is listen to "One Whole Day" for one whole minute and it'll feel like one whole day wasted, an excessively large chunk of the short time you have allotted on Earth.
Usually, celebrities who try to make their way to music at least have a sense of showmanship and talent in their respective field that they use to create something with just a dash of heart, originality and artistry. In short: They know to hire the right people, and whether one of those people is themselves.
"One Day," for example, is a single D'Amelio recorded with Wiz Khalifa in a paint-by-numbers production that pretends the numbers were never there in the first place.
Even if the song had a better track, it would just make it easier to hear the awful lyrics. So in a way, the shitty beat is actually doing you a favor by overpowering what she's saying.
The chorus rhymes "sad" with "bad" and "day" with "face" and "fireplace." Then Khalifa comes in to do a solo cameo where he just rhymes (if that even counts) the word "up" in the span of three lines. There are Sesame Street shorts that delve into deeper rhyming ballads.
If you think that's being too nit-picky, then let's look at the song's theme. D'Amelio's had her heart broken by some guy who's barely described in any detail beyond the basics of whatever he did to make her feel "sad" and "bad." So she cries about it for (wait for it) "one whole day" when "a single tear trickled down my face, while I threw your shit in the fireplace."
Wow. Using fire to get over a broken heart is just so unthinkably poetic and un-family-court like. It's even more overkill when you realize D'Amelio went fire-starting nuts because of "the time that you left me alone at the party, when I didn't even know anybody." Maybe no one wanted to talk to Dixie because they know she's the woman who burns stuff when she's sad.
The video brings it into laughable territory. The imagery is entirely unoriginal and veers from angry queen to bubblegum princess. The whole thing feels pieced together with stock footage from Getty Images videos.
D'Amelio's trying to achieve some kind of sound that mixes the angst of Avril Lavigne with the color-and-pop wit of Katy Perry. So the video swings with images borrowed from pop stars with actual talent. D'Amelio smashes up a car with a baseball bat to express her sad rage. (Miley Cyrus and Michael Jackson did it!) She lies in an inner-tube in a pool of flowers. (Katy Perry and every rap artist in the late '80s did it!) She sings while driving a car. (Every pop star who was too lazy to come up with a better metaphor for leaving your problems in the dust did it!)
The influencer isn't the only one trying to capitalize on her online following by veering into a different medium. Influencer Addison Rae's casting in the remake of She's All That, the wow-so-cleverly named He's All That, was a plea to casting directors everywhere to stop trying to make influencers into multi-hyphenates.
You can't blame D'Amelio entirely for personal mass marketing within an industry that practically demands it. Just about every major star from Elvis to Courtney Love has tried to squeeze a new talent into every type of honeypot to see what sticks. But just because the field is rampant with potential cash cows doesn't mean we have to suckle from the teat.
D'Amelio's music feels like the setup to a Black Mirror episode trying to warn us about the dangers of obtaining fame using algorithms and optimized keywords. If this isn't a sign that the growing presence of technology can also hinder our emotional and artistic sensibilities, then we shudder to imagine what will.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE...
Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune,Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.