Catey Shaw’s “Brooklyn Girls” music video received over 100,000 views in just the first three days since it’s been released. Unfortunately for Shaw, her video seems to have gathered so much attention not because it’s particularly innovative or entertaining to watch, but because it displays every irritating quirk about the one particular group of Brooklyn girls.
The song itself is fine, quite catchy in a loop-de-loop way, with an upbeat tempo, and an overall style reminiscent of pep-rally stand tune (stomp your feet, clap your hands). Shaw presents her vocals in an old-school tone that comes across slightly pretentious, along with a chorus in the backing vocals chanting, “Whoa, whoa.” Full of synth like any decent pop song should be, “Brooklyn Girls” is an indie pop anthem with a splash of punk thrown in.
The lyrics, however, are what really bother people who considered themselves true “Brooklyn Girls.” Repetitive lyrics ensure that they implant themselves into your skull so that with just one listen you’ll be able to sing along for the entirety of the song the next time you hear it. It also is therefore very easy to bounce along to when you’re a tipsy girl on the dancefloor.
“Brooklyn girls, when they walk in, they rule the world. Brooklyn girls, tough and pretty, break the rules,” the chorus goes on and on. This sounds positive, at first listen; Brooklyn girls are beautiful rebels perhaps. But then Shaw sings a line about how “gritty” Brooklyn girls are: “Jay-Z bumps in her headphones, drinks on top of the brownstone, get it on in the bathroom stall.”
Then there’s the music video. Shaw herself is a twenty-something rule-breaker with the tips of her ombre locks dyed blue, bouncing around Williamsburg with her ukulele (which has replaced acoustic guitar as the newest cool instrument to randomly decide to learn). The rest of the Brooklyn girls mingle around her, also twenty-something, PBRs in hand, bedecked with piercings, shaved heads, tattoos, skateboards and boots, gentrifying the neighborhood with artistic graffiti while they wait to catch the good old L train.
Where are all the other people who represent Brooklyn? The genuine Brooklynites who have lived there for ages? Real Brooklyn girls? The old girls, the Jewish girls, girls under the age of fourteen, and I know there’s more than just the three girls of color the director managed to squeeze into the music video living there. The music video only shows a select group of Brooklyn girls: the young adult hipster girls, the Brooklyn girls Shaw has been hanging out with since she moved to Brooklyn from Virginia Beach.
On the other hand, the music video might be a beacon of hope for some girls who are dying to get outta dodge and be a gritty Brooklyn girl, the way Shaw is. Hipsters with their wry humor might even decide to “own’ the song and play it at their Bedford rooftop party. You never know – it could catch on.