Confession: When Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Shereé Whitfield gave Watch What Happens Live viewers a first listen to her new single “Who Gon’ Check Me Boo?” on Dec. 18, I may have reflexively let out a squeal of exhilaration. May have. Okay… I totally did. Yes, PopWatchers, I am coming out with it once and for all: I am a “Closet Freak” for Real Housewives music (shout-out to Miss Lawrence, heeeeeey!).
“Who Gon’ Check Me Boo,” is a delicious hip-hopped-up slam-jam inspired by Shereé’s epic season 2 showdown with snappish party-planner Anthony, but, oh, there’s so much more. Certain lyrics (“Sayin’ that you’re rich but I know that’s all a mirage/Stuntin’ like you a star/You need to quit it girl, stop”) seem to harken back to this season’s kick-starting on-camera throwdown between Shereé and NeNe Leakes, who proclaimed, among other things, “I am very rich, b—h.” In the song, Shereé also advises her (faux?) foe to “Google me,” a direct quote from the sassbag party-planner, but also a reference to fellow Atlanta star Kim Zolciak’s second single. In short, “Who Gon’ Check Me Boo,” is all about intertextuality and layers. It’s like a pop parfait.
Now, if we’re going to talk about Kim, the discussion begins and ends with “Tardy for the Party.” To my reckoning, that song is the undisputed champ of Housewives singles, followed by the Countess LuAnn of New York’s “Chic C’est la Vie” (though many prefer her seminal single “Money Can’t Buy You Class”), newest New Jersey Housewife Melissa Gorga’s “On Display,” New York Househusband Simon Van Kempen’s “I Am Real,” and “Bump It” from D.C. dingbat Michaele Salahi (which sold 122 copies, presumably to 122 people – a.k.a. 13.4 percent of my personal Facebook friends).
I should mention, if only for my own arbitrary sense of integrity, that my allegiance to Housewives on the radio has geographical limitations that rule out the West Coast. Gretchen Rossi’s schmaltzy “Nothing Without You” should be called “Nothing I’ll Be Dropping 99 Cents on Any Time Soon, Thanks, Buh-bye.” Lisa Vanderpump’s horrid cover of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”? Egads. Now we know why Giggy is losing his hair.
And while I’m laying the ground rules, let’s be clear: I’m listening to these songs at the gym or while I sip boxed wine and slather on makeup before da club. If I want vocal virtuosity, I turn to Adele (pre-surgery – get better, girl!), Beyoncé, Florence Welch, Kelly Clarkson… the list goes on and on. On the other end of the spectrum, the Housewives are picture-in-dictionary definition “performers,” whether they’re peacocking on stage or on the small screen. I’m not looking to them for anything more, and trust me, I will never use the word “musician” or “artist” to refer to a Housewife – with one exception, Atlanta Housewife and multiplatinum R&B hit-maker Kandi Burruss (who, for the record, I’m not including in this discussion precisely because she is a legitimate artist). When I crank up a Housewives joint, it’s all about the beat. Club thumpers like “Boo,” “Tardy,” and even the Eurotrash splendor of “Class” were created solely for grooving. Why deny them their purpose?
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