I saw a Todd in the Shadows tweet last night and was going to quote-tweet it to respond but then I was like, well, this blog is supposed to be for random music thoughts, and I have one this very moment...why not just blog about it? No character limit on the blog. Well, the limit is one character...me.
I started thinking about this, because I too believe that Ice Spice's appearance on "Boy’s a liar, Pt. 2" is A++ and her appearance on the "Karma" remix is...a lower grade than that....a see me after class grade. "Karma" is of course slower, and doesn't give Ice Spice as much bippety-boppety beat to bounce her words over. "Boy's a liar" singer PinkPantheress also performs in a mode that's very compatible with Ice Spice: a born-after-Y2K, breezy, seen-it-all-already chillness that Miss 1989 is unfortunately never going to be able to access. Our curse as millennials is that we care too much, and we want other people to like us, ugh. PinkPantheress and Ice Spice don't seem to have that problem, bless them.
But in the end, it's the narrative of the verse on "Boy's a liar" that makes the difference. The "Karma" verse basically mirrors the original lyrics: karma's going to get your ass, because you suck, but it's not going to get my ass, because I don't suck...in fact, I'm kind of great. "Boy's a liar", though, draws this unreal mini-arc that starts with bravado ("His girl is a bum to me", "That boy is a cap", "When he hit me I'm not gon' respond [grrah]") and then melts into pure vulnerability ("But I don't sleep enough without you/ And I can't eat enough without you"). THAT is the magic of the song, the big reveal that Ice Spice still likes this lying boy even though all he knows is eat hot chip and lie.
Do people still post longing but pointed song lyrics as captions on selfies wherever they're posting selfies these days? I don't sleep enough without you and I can't eat enough without you would have murdered on the right Facebook photo back in the day. "I can't eat enough without you" also just kills me. Do you know how upset I have to be to not want to eat? Deeply upset.
Ice Spice pulls off this lil emotional portrait in less than 30 seconds, pleasing both the girls who leave their lying dudes on read AND the girls who cannot help but eventually text the lying dudes back, with every line delivered in the same cool, no-big-deal tone that I find totally addictive. Comparing the "Karma" verse to the "Boy's a liar" verse is like comparing a Rothko to a Sherwin-Williams paint chip.