You have probably never asked yourself what it would be like if Danny McBride’s character from Eastbound and Down made music, but it’s what you will be thinking about when you watch “Turn Up on the Weekend,” a new video from little-known duo Branchez and Big Wet. Some other things you will probably be thinking: Do I like this? I feel weird liking this. Why is that? Do I actually hate this? Is this a guilty pleasure?
All of these questions are appropriate, because how else should we take a bro-country song that blends trap drums with a pretty guitar loop, and lyrics — sung with a genuinely affecting lilt — about the simple joy of raging with your friends on a weekend?
After music was democratized by the internet, genre allegiance went out the window. No longer did you have to form an identity around the type of music you loved the most. Liking everything was fair game, because everything was available. We’re seeing the results of that constantly: A guy doing a YouTube cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right” became the rapper Post Malone, and his dramatic genre switch wasn’t even that notable.
Pop-country — one of the only genres that can reliably generate revenue for the music industry these days — has long been dabbling in rap to mostly regrettable results: Nelly had some success with Florida Georgia Line, but that was because his personal style was subsumed by the band’s own. Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s “Accidental Racist” is as terrible as you might assume based on the name, and Snoop Dogg’s collaboration with Willie Nelson (it happened because they both love weed) is adorable on paper, but kind of a mess in reality. These songs feel like blatant grabs at audience acquisition, so it’s hard to take them seriously.
Watching “Turn Up on the Weekend” is uncomfortable for the opposite reason: It sounds genuine and un-self-aware. The song itself is endearing, and very good, but the video is a betrayal of that feeling: The Fat Jewish is in it, aggressively overacting and hawking his White Girl Rosé (his canned Babe Rosé also has a cameo). It raises a question that the song, by itself, doesn’t: Is this a parody? And if it is, does that make “Turn Up on the Weekend” — itself an update on the concept of laid-back summer days and simpler times — less enjoyable for what it is? If this song becomes a huge hit (and it very well could), will it be because we actually like it, or because we just want to feel like we’re in on the joke?