Fadda Fox’s Ideal is in Vain
“Bring back de good ole days again,” Fadda Fox cries on his sole contribution for this year’s festival, “Good ole Days,” which, on its surface, is a Trumpian call to “Make Partying Great Again.” It’s a movement those of a certain age can appreciate, relate, and get behind. But if you dig deeper, you see that the song – written by Fox, Mario Turton, and Skinny Fabulous, and produced by Krishna “DadaMusic” Lawrence – is a vent on how changing economics, and the growing infiltration of class and technology has had its effect on partying throughout the years. Unfortunately, his message will fall on deaf ears.
In the first verse, Fox encourages his audience to walk down memory lane:
Do you remember, the days when yuh come inna fete with a sneakers and a short pants? / Wid a rag inna ya hand and a flag inna ya hand it nuh matter de audience / Gal used to a wine up stink, and don’t care what nobody think / But nowadays everybody outside posing…
This recollection of simplicity addresses the dynamic change of attire and the increasing vanity of most fete goers. Whereas once upon a time, patrons would get dressed to sweat, it now feels like most events are one big catwalk. The rise of event photography and the smartphone (and social media by extension), and the influx of premium events can be attributed to this. This is not to say that some people haven’t always been fashion conscious or aware of their appearance. But before there was another lens at each turn, and stipulated (or implied) dress codes to maintain a sense of prestige, “sneakers and a short pants” (rather than heels/boat shoes and smart casual threads) would suffice.
This is why most parties resemble a Mexican stand off, and Fox begs with the chorus to “bring back de jump and wave” – which doubles as a nod to Preacher’s ‘94 Road March-winning hit “Jump and Wave,” and a call for a collective enjoyment that can’t be achieved by snobbishness and excessive smartphone use. “Too much phone lines in de dance / Too much selfies in de dance / Too much flipping Instagram,” he laments.
The influence of mobile phone technology is apparent. Once seen as a luxury, mobile phones are now a necessity. An extra limb even. Everywhere you turn people are glued to their alloy brick, texting, reading, updating. The party/road is no exception. “Buss a wine and lewwe do de ting nuh / Put down de phone and lewwe do de ting nuh,” Fox sings.
His efforts are admirable. Even though we are from different eras, I agree with him. Most people do. That’s why the song is so popular. But his attempt is Herculean. Even though some remnants of yore may remain, but most of the everyman aspects of partying have been stripped away and been replaced with new digitized, hyperconnected, bourgeoisie elements. There are more VIP sections. More event screenings. More premium liquors. More selfie-sticks. More social-media-powered photo booths. Less socialization. Less dancing.
As camera quality gets higher in definition, so too does the belief that every moment must be recorded or broadcasted; which leads to less living in the moment and more sharing of their being. Or someone else’s misfortune. Back in the day, a person’s low moment might go unnoticed or is retold in an embellished state. But it now runs the risk of going viral and interfering with their livelihood, or just causing shame. Fox would know.
“Good ole Days” is like a modern day version of “What Happens in de Party,” in the sense that they both reason the fete is a space that shouldn’t entertain certain unwelcoming factors. But while Rupee calls for a vow of silence, Fox begs for a dismantling of technological advancements and highbrow behaviors and trends that he has observed as a performer and party-goer – if not completely, at least for the length of the party, or the length of his song.
There are always exceptions to the rule. Every fete nowadays doesn’t have people standing around posing and on their phones. Not all are exclusive, white-gloved and high tea. We can all cite cases where we had the time of our lives with numerous devices present at “watch face” parties, too. But the common consensus, which Fox argues in song, is that what was once an exercise of togetherness is now becoming increasingly antisocial in most cases.
Sadly, as powerful as I believe music is, I can’t see this one ditty disrupting the scene despite its growing popularity. The song’s impact will be fleeting, as it will quickly lose steam in its fight against everyday conditioning during the post-Crop Over soca slowdown. Still, the effort is appreciated.
Carlos Brathwaite is the Founder & Editor of 246Mixtapes. Follow him on Twitter.
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