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Farrah Abraham's Music Is Way Better Than Her Sex Tape

By Drew Millard

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Earlier this week, Farrah Abraham released her sex tape, Farrah Superstar: Backdoor Teen Mom. Most people probably know Farrah from her "work" on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. Noisey is a family site, so I'm not going to embed it here, but if you must, you can find the clip here. In it, Abraham and number-one porn bro James Deen make small talk about shoes and then have unenthusiastic sex. It's reported that Abraham sold the clip for 1 million dollars, which is pretty incredible.

On one hand, having consensual sex on camera for money so that people can watch it on the internet says something about the sad state of affairs America has found itself in. On the other hand, fuck it. Farrah Abraham's got a kid to feed, and you can't be mad at someone for doing what they gotta do in order to make sure their offspring has every opportunity in the world, assuming they're not hurting anyone or making Michael Bay movies in the process. People who talk shit on Farrah are just suckers who don't get it, because if you delve—even shallowly—into Abraham's body of work, you'd know that there's a lot more going on to her than what meets the eye. 

Derek Underwood, father of Abraham's daughter Sophia, tragically died in a car crash two months before Sophia's birth. While appearing on Teen Mom, Abraham dealt with fallout from Underwood's death, was emancipated from her abusive mother, underwent therapy, and was served with a lawsuit out of nowhere by Underwood's family. These intense circumstances serve as the backdrop for My Teenage Dream Ended, an album released last year by Abraham that was meant to serve as a companion to Abraham's book of the same name (the album was originally released with digital copies of the book). If you haven't heard it, do yourself a favor and check it out. It's on Spotify.

Upon first listen, the album could be charitably described as "not good." Abraham struggles to stay on pitch and on beat, which leads to Abraham's lifeless, heavily autotuned, intensely quantized vocals over generic-sounding dance tracks. But listen to the actual lyrics, and you're hit with something that's too intense to look away, a record with the makings of a modern-day Shaggs, or something even approaching the warped genre exercises of Lil B the Based God. What could have been an easy cash in—and what was clearly marketed as one—was subverted, either by design or by Abraham's amateurism. 

I'm not joking when I say that My Teenage Dream Ended is a true work of outsider art, emotionally raw and too downright strange to look away from, especially when you consider the album in the context of the mainstream-pop-culture machine that made her famous. Abraham expresses genuinely painful sentiment, speaking with disarming frankness about motherhood and her complicated relationship with her dead husband usually reserved for a therapy session. It's here that the brilliance of My Teenage Dream Ended can be found. As an article in the Atlantic praising the album said of it, "Meaning seems obviously there but also impenetrable; like much experimental work, it establishes rules to be learned as you experience it."

Why does this album exist? No one involved with the album's creative process could have possibly expected it to make any money or add any value to the digital edition of her book, and yet it was made regardless. The reason this record is interesting has a lot to do with the narrative surrounding it, but in order to genuinely enjoy it, we have to relax our brains and eliminate the possibility that Abraham might be a hack. Once an artist releases work into the world, they lose control of that work's interpretation, but is ascribing greatness to this sort of mediocrity an inherently condescending act? Fuck it, there's something about My Teenage Dream Ended that keeps me listening, and whether that's because it's a car crash or a work of genius becomes less important with every spin.

Drew Millard's favorite song on the Farrah Abraham record is "Liar Liar." He's on Twitter - @drewmillard

 

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