Every once in a great while, a song emerges to capture an era, a scene, a way of life. Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” defined grunge music in Seattle in the 1990s; “Stayin’ Alive,” and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack from the Bee Gees, crystallized disco in the ’70s.
Now, the self-centered, social network-centric Internet era has its own defining jam: It’s called “#SELFIE,” and, yes, the hashtag is part of the title. The song, from New York City DJ duo The Chainsmokers, perfectly encapsulates the Instagram-obsessed, nightclub-hopping, selfie-posing twentysomethings who take over large swaths of New York, Los Angeles and other lounge-friendly metropolises on Friday and Saturday nights.
The music itself is standard dance club fare: propulsive synths, insistent beat and a huge buildup to the bass drop.
The song’s lyrics, however, are what really shine here. They arrive in the form of a spoken-word performance by a vapid, club-going woman, who recites half of an apparent dialogue with her friend over the course of a night out. She complains about how few likes her Instagram photos are getting; she contemplates the best filter for her photos; and, again and again, she excuses herself from the conversation to take a selfie.
You can listen to the song and watch the video below (some NSFW language, images and David Hasselhoff):
My colleague Deb Amlen has more on the rise of the phenomenon that is the self-taken smartphone photo, and you can also buy The Chainsmokers’ song on iTunes. Now, if you’ll excuse me: Let me take a selfie.