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Track Review

Every year at least one tune is unofficially dubbed the official Song of the Summer. It's a rather ephemeral award music critics dreamed up to give people something to argue about through the dog days of July and August.

And in 2014, one of the early contenders is Iggy Azalea's "Fancy."

It's the Australian-born rapper's second big hit ... if you count her guest appearance on Ariana Grande's chart-topper " Problem." And if you do count it—which professional chart-watchers seem inclined to do—the fact that the two songs spent time stacked up at Nos. 1 and 2 means that Iggy Azalea is the first artist since The Beatles to accomplish that uncommon feat.

But is this 24-year-old's hot streak really worthy of such a lofty comparison? When Billboard asked her a slightly different version of that very question, she humbly demurred, saying, "It doesn't mean anything." Then, unable to quite leave it alone, she added, "I'd rather be The Rolling Stones."

Perhaps that's because the Stones more than the Beatles cultivated a devil-may-care brazenness from the get-go—an attitude Azalea cops with flagrant abandonment. And as for humility, well, whatever amount of that character trait that momentarily presented itself in the Billboard interview is ... absolutely nowhere to be seen in her song. Instead, Iggy spends the entirety of "Fancy" proclaiming how great she is and how much awesome stuff she has apparently already accrued in her scant 24 years.

Ms. Azalea wastes no time before dropping narcissistic superlatives: "First things first," she raps at the outset, "I'm the realest/Drop this, and let the whole world feel it/And I'm still in the murda bizness."

OK. So ... Iggy ... is ... the ... realest. And ... Iggy ... is ... still in the "murda" business? Now, that last bit most likely is a reference to being hyper-hip and super-cool, not cocking a Glock and and gunning someone down. Still, I get the point: Don't even think about messing with this transplanted Aussie 'cuz she's so much realer than me.

"You want a bad b‑‑ch like this, huh?" she spits. (Is that a rhetorical question?) And, of course, said badness is defined by alcohol ("Cup of Ace, cup of Goose, cup of Cris/ ... Takin' all the liquor straight, never chase that, never") and having more stuff than any of the rest of us ("High heels, somethin' worth a half a ticket on my wrist").

It's a tarnished and tired trope that rappers have been delivering for nigh unto 30 years now, so I find that I'm not really listening very hard anymore. Certainly this realest of the real isn't the cleverest of the clever, breaking no new ground. Instead, she's just packing down the dirt a bit more as she momentarily laps the field.

The end of the first verse finds British guest contributor Charli XCX delivering the song's poppy, catchy—and still decidedly bling-and-brag-filled—chorus: "I'm so fancy/You already know/I'm in the fast lane/From L.A to Tokyo/I'm so fancy/Can't you taste this gold/Remember my name/'Bout to blow."

Then Iggy chimes back in by unloading on critics (like me) who point out the superficial, hedonistic, materialistic lifestyle she sings about ("Can't stand no haters/Swagger on, stupid, I can't shop in no department/To get my money on time, if they not money, decline").

Afraid you might have by now forgotten just how much money she has, Iggy quickly reminds us, "I thought you knew that, knew that/I be the I-G-G-Y, put my name in bold/I been working, I'm up here with some change to throw."

Charli XCX lobs in a little rocker rebelliousness ("Trash the hotel/Let's get drunk on the mini bar/ ... Feels so good getting what I want/ ... Chandelier swinging, we' don't give a f‑‑‑"), and Iggy brings it home by taunting any guy who thinks he might manage to get his lusty mitts on her ("Hot girl, hands off, don't touch that/Look at it, I bet you wishing you could clutch that/It's just the way you like it, huh?/You so good, he's just wishing he could bite it, huh?/ ... Slaying these hoes, gold trigger on the gun, like/I'm so fancy").

As for the video, it reimagines 1995's movie Clueless, casting Iggy and Charli as the mean girl stars. In a high school setting, they (along with other "students") proudly primp, preen, rap, croon and generally ooze coolness ... all while displaying generous amounts of midriff, leg and chest. After dark, the "kids" all head over to a big bash where there's no shortage of dancing, drinking and making out.

So is all that ... "Fancy"? I can think of some other adjectives I'd choose instead. If this is 2014's Song of the Summer, then winter's looking mighty nice right about now.

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Hit No. 1.

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March 3, 2014

On Video

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Adam R. Holz

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