For some reason, rich people think they’re good at everything. Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer imagine their billions automatically qualify them to be president of the United States. A guy with a gold toilet who was once on a reality show now imagines he’s a very stable genius and that his string of bankruptcies attest to his mastery of the art of the deal. And emerald-mine-owning bootstrapper Elon Musk has resisted going Galt because he’s worshipped by tech bros and venture capitalists as a modern day renaissance man, equally adept at busting unions and freeing trapped kids from caves.
But this week Musk returned from the dankness of Joe Rogan’s apple bong with an orbiting-Tesla-sized albatross to hang around all of our musical necks: an EDM single titled “Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe.”
Musk’s song is the Cybertruck of electronica: It’s terrible, it was made by people who clearly have no familiarity with the subject matter, it was probably mostly created by underpaid functionaries so Musk could take credit, and people will still claim to like it because our society’s values are unbelievably broken. Unlike Cybertruck, it’s not even uniquely or notably bad. It’s so bland and derivative that it’s possible to forget how it goes while still listening to it.
He bragged on Twitter about doing the vocals for “Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe,” which seems like a miscalculation, since the seven-word vocals are the worst part of a song without any good parts. Thanks to a level of overprocessing that would make a teenager playing with a pirated copy of audio software wince, the tone of his voice sounds like Andre the Giant auditioning for Revenge of the Nerds. The nonsense refrain is the sole attempt to tie the mish-mash of sounds together which is like trying to tie down a pile of used diapers with a roll of toilet paper.
Like Musk’s success, much of modern electronic dance music, is constructed from prefabricated loops and samples. These individual musical elements are arranged and rearranged in ways that suggest a creative mind at work, when they are merely commodities, designed and developed by others. Musk’s new single required of the entrepreneur no knowledge of musical theory, no ability to play a musical instrument, no originality and no dedication to craft. “Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe” required only a myopic hubris, a deadened sensitivity to quality art, and an ego big enough to think to itself, “Why shouldn’t I, a complete musical laymen, record a song and foist it onto a world too enraptured by wealth to ever realize I have no idea what I’m doing?”
Musk’s new song serves the same purpose as the Tesla he launched into space. It is a useless tribute to his own imagined specialness, the calling card of a narcissist, and a spectacular waste of resources that could’ve been better spent doing almost anything else. The mere fact that we’ve even heard “Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe” is the best possible argument in favor of a wealth tax; in any just world it would have one listen by Musk himself and no comments. But because Musk used his family’s Apartheid money to buy and sell ideas he had no hand in creating and the companies that housed them, this drivel is treated like a serious musical endeavor.
The only appropriate venue to play “Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe” is a union organizing effort at a Tesla plant. If anyone still has any doubts about organizing to assert their rights, the existence of this song serves as both a call to arms as well as a reminder of the incredible scope of the battle to be waged against the complacent vacuity of our current ruling class. The amount of money Musk spent on producers and studio time, or more likely equipment to build his own, could have been used to give his employees a raise. It could have been used to hire more people so they could have shorter shifts and longer breaks. It could have been used to improve their safety training and equipment to lower their accident rate. It probably could have done all of those things. But instead they have “Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe” to listen to while recovering from the serious injury they sustained during the 10th hour of their sixth shift in a week, counting the days until their inevitable medical bankruptcy.
“Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe” is the inflexible submersible Musk hubristically suggested could be used to save a bunch of kids trapped in a cave in Thailand. We didn’t ask for this. It won’t work, but here it is, and yet if we don’t like the song, we’re just a bunch of “pedo guys” too crass and uncouth to ever appreciate our good fortune in sharing the planet with such a gifted soul.
Do yourself, and the world, a favor and don’t listen to this song. Forget this song exists. Unfollow Musk on social media. Spend your time doing anything else. Literally anything. Watch paint dry. Donate to a progressive candidate who will push for tax reform. Go on a walk in the park. Take five minutes to record a better song. There are no bad options.