“Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani

This song is garbage. Granted, most of Gwen Stefani’s Love.Angel.Music.Baby album is garbage, but this is a special case. It would be a bad song even without its glaring primary problem, just because it’s a horribly disjointed mess, going from luxury fantasy to attempted love song to generic brag rap without any impression that anyone involved knew what they were doing or thought it would matter. But the thing that makes this song truly vile is that it samples the song “If I Were a Rich Man” from the classic musical Fiddler on the Roof. Now, obviously using a musical theater classic as part of a disposable schlock-pop song is offensive on its face, but it becomes so much worse if you’re actually familiar with the original song’s subject matter. For those who aren’t familiar with musical theater, “If I Were a Rich Man” is the song of a truly poor man barely scraping by, dreaming about having money to spare and ultimately coming up with serious and even spiritual reasons for it (“If I were rich, I would have all the time that I like to sit in the synagogue and pray…that would be the sweetest thing of all”). And even referencing this in relation to some pop brat’s fantasy of being even more privileged than she already is constitutes a special kind of insult not only to great art, but to the basic humanity that Fiddler‘s story deals with. Gwen Stefani and everyone else involved in the production of this travesty should be truly ashamed of themselves.

Verdict: Not just bad, but offensive on every level.

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