By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
The music world is a very unpredictable one. So many artists that have established their sound will often go in another direction. Darius Rucker went from fronting jam band greats Hootie & the Blowfish to a successful solo career in country music. Bubblegum pop artist Poppy unleashed her metal/industrial side earlier this year to rave reviews. Now I am hearing that Miley Cyrus, who has been all over the musical map (obviously cannot make up her mind), will be releasing her first rock record. To top off that, this past weekend on the MTV Europe Music Awards (the counterpart of the traditional VMAs), emerging R&B star Doja Cat turned heads when she performed her smash hit “Say So” entirely to heavy metal music.
First off, I do not anything about Doja Cat. This is not to say I do not believe she is talented, but her music is off my spectrum. Apparently, she is a singer out of L.A. who likes to combine R&B, disco, pop, and hip-hop into her music. Her second release, Hot Pink (2019), debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 charts thanks to her hit single “Say So.” I decided to give a listen after hearing her EMA performance. I am not going to lie; this song does have a surprisingly good beat that features a combo of rap, funk, and hip-hop flair. According to a webpage called storyofsong.com, Doja says the song is about a friend who is in love with her, and she is asking that person to admit their feelings to her without beating around the bush. Therefore, it sounds like a basic love song with a hip-hop mix.
I then watch the performance on YouTube once released. It starts with her coming out of a large TV full of static into a field of white flowers, an homage to Samara Morgan, the villainess of 2002’s The Ring. She wears a torn and tattered white wedding dress that she stole from Madonna’s closet. The music kicks in and the band starts shredding. She sings in her normal range and raps in the flow she is accustomed to in the original version. The difference: she is combining the rock/metal elements one would hear in Babymetal or Evanescence. Armed with two guitarists, a bass player, and a drummer, Doja gets right into your face and lets it all go. She dances to the metal beat with attitude, ready to enter a mosh pit if there was one. Her band is wearing prosthetic make-up to look like animals. I do not fully understand that concept, but her two guitarists trade off solos that have a death metal aptitude to it.
Overall, I would have to say that Doja held her own very well in this genre. The reason behind her doing this, according to her on Twitter, she was tired of performing that song and wanted to look for a fresh way to perform it. A lot of hard rock and heavy metal outlets like Loudwire, Metal Injection, and Alternative Press have been showering Doja with praise for her performance, but some of her fans (not all) would prefer her to stay in her musical lane. Personally, I welcome pop artists who dare to cross into our world. Look at Lady Gaga, she performed with Metallica at the Grammys and crushed it (though James Hetfield’s mic crapped out). Will Doja make a rock/metal record in the future? I do not know, so that remains to be seen. Until then, we will enjoy rocking out to her EMA performance. To Doja Cat, I salute you. Horns up!!!
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