Grammy Winners Show Thrift Is Hot
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Thrift is in, and excessive consumerism is out, according to the Grammys. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took home best rap performance for "Thrift Shop," which also won best rap song and featured prominently on "The Heist," the winner for best rap album. And in a further show of support for egalitarian lyrical themes, song of the year went to "Royals," by 17-year-old phenom Lorde, who also won for best pop solo performance on this anti-glitz number.
"Royals" and "Thrift Shop" are anthems to Main Street that eschew conspicuous consumption.
In rap performance, for example, Macklemore's paean to bargain-hunting beat out odes to sybaritic taste Jay-Z's "Tom Ford" and Kendrick Lamar's "Swimming Pools (Drank)."
In "Thrift Shop," the rappers roll with a limited budget into a second-hand store, as the catchy hook tells it:
"I'm gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I - I - I'm hunting, looking for a come-up."
Instead of celebrating the acquisition of super cars or designer clothing, Macklemore boasts his discovery of fur finery for under $1:
"Draped in a leopard mink, girls standin' next to me
Probably shoulda washed this, smells like R. Kelly's sheets
But shit, it was ninety-nine cents! (Bag it)
Coppin' it, washin' it, 'bout to go and get some compliments
Passin' up on those moccasins someone else's been walkin' in."
Even sacrificing perfect sanitary standards, Macklemore in this song is unwilling to pass up a deal and figures he can simply and cheaply wash out the faint smell of urine on the clothing. He also uses discretion by passing on the well-worn moccasins.
Greed is gauche as ever, especially in the wake of the Great Recession. In fact, it's a sickness: a recent paper from Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer called "When Does Money Make Money More Important" notes that money can be addictive. The research, published in the ILRReview, demonstrates that the more money a person makes per hour, the more significance the money acquires. And you wonder why CEO compensation is so high?
The germ of that study arose from a 2002 Fortune interview with former Novartis AG CEO Daniel Vasella, who did not accept a $78 million severance package. "The strange part is, the more I made, the more I got preoccupied with money," Vasella said. "When suddenly I didn't have to think about money as much, I found myself starting to think increasingly about it." Extrication from that focus on excess money creates a kind of freedom.
Here in popular music, we have a new hero, one who ostentatiously presents his penchant for penny-pinching.
"Savin' my money and I'm hella happy that's a bargain...
I'ma take your grandpa's style, I'ma take your grandpa's style,