Every week, a different FADER editor compiles a playlist to highlight a new release and give you a guide to that artist’s web of influences and peers. These Staff Selects live in our Spotify app, alongside GEN Fs from our archives and playlists for each issue. This week, it’s Duncan Cooper on Farrah Abraham.
Farrah Abraham, one of four stars of MTV’s recently-shuttered reality show Teen Mom, published an autobiography this summer with an accompanying album, jointly entitled My Teenage Dream Ended. Unsurprisingly, the record is a sonic mess: over generic dubstep growls, Farrah’s drowning yelp of a voice is severely Auto-Tuned but seemingly programmed to the wrong key. Celebrity gossip magazine In Touch premiered the first single two months ago, which Jezebel promptly called “the worst song you’ll ever hear ever.”
The album caught a second wind last week, with a number of blogs tripping over one another to find a brighter side. In a two-thousand word post, The Atlantic urged their audience to “listen to it as a piece of art,” and a six-paragraph FACT review found “genuine beauty amidst the impenetrable difficulty.” Most of the songs are, of course, shitty, but as a total package the album is a remarkable totem to the shattered, endlessly-sharing psyche of a breast-augmented teen mother with a dead baby’s father and no more reality show. And, as FACT and The Atlantic found out, a few of the songs are kind of amazing if you file them under “experimental,” particularly “On My Own” and the devastating guitar track “Liar Liar.” It’s shrill, but Farrah’s music is nothing if not honest. This playlist showcases some voice-manipulated songs to give her bizarre sound a little company—Diamanda Galás (the “unnerving vocal terror”), a vocodered Beethoven’s 9th and contemporary Auto-Tunist o F F Love—plus infinitely less self-aware songs by celebrities Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan.