“KIDS”: The problem with social media according to Noga Erez

People buy views, I know it’s old news
But also bad news for everybody
People buy views but I don’t buy views
Don’t turn on my fuse and watch your back

“Views” by Noga Erez (featuring ROUSSO & Reo Cragun)

You may have never heard anything like Noga Erez. It’s because her universe is hybrid. Mix pop with electro and rap. You get sharp lyrics and a catchy sound to express what puzzles her. The Tel Aviv-based singer-songwriter-producer is back with her new opus “Kids” (released March 26, 2021). A piece of work created with her partner both in life and on stage Ori Rousso.

It’s been four years since the release of her debut album “Off The Radar”. Politics, global tensions, and relationship towards each other still are themes that push her to question our time. Although she says she’s no media, she likes to describe her songs as “a serious message wrapped in fun and entertaining music”.

Craving for attention

Our use of social media is also a recurrent subject of Noga Erez’s work. “We make up everything, we tell it as we want” she sang during the eponymous “Off The Radar”. This track described our primary need for attention. Some users want to catch your eyes with every post they make as if approval or envy made them feel complete. However, our image on social media is only the one we’re willing to show others.

Putting yourself on the front line to please others and fit into what they expect of you might be dangerous. Noga Erez makes no judgment but puts us in front of reality as frightening as it is painful: no matter how hard you try to act “cool” on social media, others work as hard as you to achieve the same goal. The moment someone decides you’re not “in” anymore, you’re easy to replace, and people don’t care how much time you spend on trying to take the perfect selfie or to write the most inspiring text.

A futile race

This race for popularity can lead you to lose your identity: “We’ll take whatever shines Whatever can blind an open eye And round the corners, flatten the bumps And fit you inside the lines” (“Off The Radar”). Connecting may be essential, but it confused some generations too. Even more now. Noga Erez deepened that idea on her new album.

Noga Erez

“Views” is about how being fake tends to rule this world. There’s duplicity in its lyrics. Noga Erez’s part tends to show how absurd it is to buy views to feel good and to prove you’re successful. This desire encourages using unnecessary violence to always be on top: “And watch your back I’ll break your neck, I pop a can of Ironlak And paint you black, your name in black The list I’m keeping, over-packed”. Putting that much effort into it is a vain cause because that’s probably how your “competitors” act too. And yet, people often rely on these fake numbers to listen or watch something. This false normality has entered our mentality.

If a YouTube video gets many views or a good amount of likes, then it’s easy to say it’s probably good content. This scheme is identical when it comes to social media. If people get many views or many followers, then we call them “influencers”. Reo Cragun’s verse resumes this place of choice: “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven You ain’t gettin’ views and I know ya jealous Eight, nine, ten, milli’ like eleven I’ma elevate the bread ’til we get to heaven I gotta whole lotta cash Blowin’ it fast, looking like I’ve stolen a stash”. Fake numbers give access to power nowadays.

Being at the top is lonely

The video clip shows how social media has changed our perception of ourselves and others. People are all acting the same and climbing up the stairs to reach the top of the building. Their approach is punctuated by who knows what, as if they were no longer in control of themselves.

The metaphor is clear: they’re all trying to stand out and achieve success and recognition at any cost. They move faster and jostle each other to cheat, just like some buy views to reach their goal fast. Nonetheless, Noga Erez shows being finally at the top isn’t as pleasant as it seems. It’s pretty lonely and you can’t even breathe for a second: somebody is always near and ready to steal your spot.

A forced gaze on the world

According to Noga Erez, “Views” wasn’t an urgent theme for her to write on, but here it is. The fact that it’s on an album called “Kids” is interesting because the youngest ones have easy access to these platforms. A kid is supposed to be innocent and carefree. Yet, any content can affect them. The cover chose for the release of “Views” sums it up very well.

The background color is bright orange and a kid is obliged to keep his eyes open. Even if Noga Erez still refuses to pass judgment, there’s something bitter and almost dramatic about this world exposed to anyone, where you better march on if you don’t want to be trampled.

Noga Erez

As a kid, Noga Erez describes herself as “awful, extremely hard to control, wild and angry”. Anger occupied a large piece of her childhood. She grew up in Tel-Aviv; a “bubble” where she could also feel the tensions in her country and the world. She quit Israel for the first time when she was a young teenager. This school trip allowed her to widen her gaze on others and how they saw her situation. She eventually found a little bit of peace and a way to express herself thanks to her love for music.

A generational album

“Kids” is a recurrent theme. Noga Erez’s mother intervenes several times with those words: “Kids, these days”. It’s even the opening of the album. At first, Noga Erez and Ori Rousso wanted to name it that way because of their grieving process. Ori Rousso’s mom passed away and both of them were by her side. “Kids” was meant to be a tribute.

Their work gradually turned into something to be heard from generation to generation. Kids still represent a message of hope. It is our responsibility to educate them to be tolerant and caring to each other.

Mélanie Domergue

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