“No Handlebars”: Anatomy of a Trainwreck

Maybe Logan Paul gets it.  Maybe he knows how big of a douche he is.  Certainly few media outlets are shy about pointing him out.  Hell, I’m enabling him by giving him ink, right now.

If there’s a silver lining, it means I can also give ink to Flobots.  Listen to the genius that is “Handlebars”:

 

This is a freaking brilliant song.  The fingerplucked violin melody upon which the whole song is built is catchy, creepy, and perfect.  To quote Salieri, displace a single note, and there would be diminishment.

As the song kicks into gear, it becomes a perfect expression of the potential of rap vocals when the subject matter is not bitches and Bentleys.  Upon the twee plucked violin and a restrained beatbox rhythm, James “Jonny 5” Laurie uses rapid-fire flow to paint a picture of a precocious, hyperactive, self-confident kid thrilled about all his skills, of which riding a bike with no handlebars is only the beginning.  Who can forget lyrics like these?

“I can tie a knot in a cherry stem!

I can tell you about Lief Eriksen!

I know all the words to ‘De Colores’

And ‘I’m Proud to Be an American!’

Me and my friends saw a platypus!

Me and my friend made a comic book!

And guess how long it took!

I can do anything I want, cuz, look!”

The song builds to include horns, guitars, and louder guitars as the character grows from precocious child, to self-important business mogul, to meglomaniacal dictator with his hand on the button.  He starts by being able to ride his bike with no handlebars, and ends with being able to end the plant in a holocaust.

Then, along comes Logan Paul, adapting the song just the way you would expect a talentless hack to adapt it.

 

So.  First he jumbles up the already-perfect note order of the plucked violin (presumably and ultimately unsuccessfully in an attempt to avoid a copyright lawsuit).  Then he adds a bunch of tacky noises from a cookie-cutter hip hop sampler.  He gussies up that perfect, minimalist beat with way too many “in-da-club” breakdowns, and for the crowning achievement, he turns the lyrics into a paean to his own sexual prowess – and a nonsensical one, too.  “I can ride my bike with no handlebars” becomes “I can ride yo’ girl with no handlebars!”

Se what he did there???  Because riding means sex?  And girls have handlebars?  Except they don’t, but … sex!  Get it?

I’ve already burned too much time on how incompetent this song is, but whatever.  Logan Paul is not a musician.  He’s a Vine star who now makes his living being awful on YouTube for a ravenous fan base who loves him for his awfulness.

Here’s the bummer – he uploaded that video a week ago, and it’s already halfway to surpassing the Flobots official video that was uploaded eight years ago.

And scroll down to the comments (always a great way to ruin your day – YouTube comments really bring out the worst in people).

You’ve got your Flobots defenders pointing out the obvious – that the Logan Paul version is inferior in every way, hopefully he knows it and it’s all a joke, and Flobots are correct in filing a lawsuit for residuals considering it’s an obvious ripoff of their song that Paul has monetized with Vevo registration and YouTube AdSense.

And in response, you have your unhinged fans of Logan Paul, who love Paul for his awfulness presumably because they are awful themselves, screeching in all caps:  “LOGAN PAULS SONG IZ SOOOOO MUCH BETTER THE FLOBOTS TOTALLY RIPD HIM OFF THERE JUST JELLIS.”

*Sigh*

What makes you despair for the future of humanity and good taste?

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