selfie awareness

I am disappointed to see that Selfie, the generic dance tune by the Calgary-based DJ duo The Chainsmokers, has stalled in its assault on the Canadian pop chart. Worse, it is slipping down the American Billboard chart, its return to obscurity imminent.

Not that I care for the Valley Girl for a new generation any more than I cared for, say, Valley Girl. But I respect an artist willing to take a chance on a shameless cash-in, the better to cheapen an already overripe fad. By selling-out so effectively, The Chainsmokers have joined the pantheon of pop-music opportunists, their song destined to remain in our hearts every bit as long as did The Streak, Pac-Man Fever, Fuddle-Duddle, Where’s the Beef? and Who Shot J.R.? Oh and Valley Girl.

So let us commend The Chainsmokers for making the most of a time-honoured tradition. We’re going to miss them. But hey, we’ll always have Selfie.

And if you doubt the importance of the selfie to our society, look no further than those bus-shelter ads for the latest HOT 89.9 contest. Send HOT your best selfie (with an explanation, as if one were needed beyond a natural narcissism) and you may win $25,000. The contest is itself a nod to squeezing every ounce out of a fad — while cleverly reminding those tempted to jump to JUMP! that HOT is still down with the youth of today. (And as a non-youth of today I’ll admit to be somewhat confused as to how taking a picture of oneself is a new thing. Will the next craze be holiday slide-shows?)

JUMP! in case you missed it, is the new identity of the station formerly known as The Bear. It is also the station formerly known as Virgin Radio, whose introduction to the Ottawa market was marred somewhat by a promotional campaign that suggested the station’s mission was to impregnate the women of Ottawa. Prior to that, of course, it was The Bear.

The abrupt change of format at the end of March was met with outrage by a number of locals who did not listen to The Bear and wished to declare they had no intention of listening to JUMP! Management was likely unfazed by such threats. So far, JUMP! has been busy spreading the word via social media and strategic placement of vehicles at schools. And by playing “non-stop hits.” Of course, by the station’s own admission, the hits do stop every 90 minutes. And the CRTC does not exactly permit stations in the Ottawa market to genuinely play nothing but hits. Still, when the hits are rolling, they never stop. Until they do.

It’s early days, but despite not offering cash-money for a selfie, JUMP! is making itself known to its target audience. And, really, what do teens of 2014 love more than sitting in front of the radio? So here’s to a bold experiment, and to the eventual return of The Bear.

After all, as The Chainsmokers will soon be able to tell you, audiences are fickle.




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