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Song Review: 'First Class' by Jack Harlow is Another in a Long Line of Mediocre Number 1 Hits

by Sean Patrick 2 months ago in song reviews
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Deeply uninspiring and derivative, First Class by Jack Harlow is somehow the number one song in America.

I am truly baffled, what is the appeal of the current number one song in America, First Class by Jack Harlow? Now, the song is not repellent, for the most part, but it is remarkably uninteresting. First Class takes Fergie’s 2006 chart topper, GLAMOROUS, and re-imagines it through the lens of hip hop star Jack Harlow reflecting on his rather remarkable and immediate success in the world of pop music. And that’s really it. There is nothing insightful or new about it, Harlow humblebrags and Fergie’s producers have already done most of the work. At least the work that wasn’t already, already done by Sheila E’s producers back in the 1980s.

First Class posits Jack Harlow reflecting on his newfound fame, the people who tried to hold him back, and the sex that he now has ‘in the A.M’ which is apparently some remarkable flex, as if the act of having sex in the morning were a novel concept before it started happening for Jack Harlow. Shallow barely begins to describe the empty posturing of First Class, a deeply derivative and desperately uninspired song.

Structurally, Harlow takes what Fergie did on GLAMOROUS and changes the lyrics while keeping the beat relatively the same. In Harlow’s interpretation, in a call and response style, he’s ‘been a G,’ whatever that means in this day and age. He then calls for us to ‘Throw up the L’ which I can only assume I am misunderstanding. My context for throw up the L is to admit that you’ve lost in some sort of contest but contextually that interpretation doesn’t make sense. Harlow is bragging throughout the entirety of the song so I can’t imagine he means L as in losing.

Sex in the ‘A.M’ is next and we’ve already covered why that’s a rather odd thing to brag about. Then he just sort of gives up on the letter by letter convention for ‘OROUS’ because continuing the convention would become rather tedious. From here he moves into the title portion and where Fergie’s brag that she was flying First Class, living her life in the fast lane, Harlow’s conceit is that he can put you in ‘First Class,’ which is, admittedly, a better flex than Fergie’s humblebrag about her own flight status.

Moving out of the chorus and into the body of the song things get weird. Harlow engages in a series of non-sequitur lines about his growing wealth and status, he can see the whole city from the balcony on which he now stands, and in 2019 he could go outside but now he’s mobbed wherever he goes and it's not as easy to get around. From here we head into the strangest and most unwelcome of these non-sequitur lines, “Pineapple Juice, I give her that sweet, sweet, sweet, semen.’ Just ewww.

It’s a strange choice to include that gross line in a song that is otherwise relatively safe for work. Sure he mentions ‘sex in the A.M’ but for the most part, the song is relatively tame. Later in the song he’s happy to tell us about surprising his mom with a new house and it’s sweet, I guess, and kind of wholesome, but how do you not feel weird including the taste of your semen the same song where you proudly talk about getting your mom a house. I would want to keep those two things about my life separate, maybe that’s just me.

None of the rest of the song is particularly interesting. The beat is an almost direct lift of Fergie’s song and doesn’t innovate on that sound much at all. That song itself was already derived from Sheila E’s The Glamorous Life minus that song's vitality and energy. So, yeah, the appeal of First Class still eludes me. It’s desperately unoriginal, unnecessarily gross, and lacking in anything you might call insight into Jack Harlow the artist.

The nicest thing I can say about First Class is that it is very short. It’s under 3 minutes and if you can ignore the lyrics, it's not entirely unpleasant. That said, you’ve heard this song before. It’s GLAMOROUS by Fergie but with a guy bragging that his semen tastes sweet.Why is this the number one song in America right now? My guess is it must have a Tik Tok dance. It’s short enough that you can get the entire song into a Tik Tok video so, my theory is probably right. The song is also remarkably mediocre which means a lot of people can mindlessly enjoy it and create the sense that it is a hit.

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About the author

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for Everyone's a Critic Movie Review Podcast. I am a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

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Comments (1)

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  • Burger King8 days ago

    Don't forget the mindless "Yes I am" This song is absolute garbage me and my coworkers hate it.

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