Twenty-seven seconds into the song posted above, Canadian rocker Matthew Good says the phrase "first world problems." It is, as far as most Internet detectives can tell, the first time that phrase was used in a piece of art. Good wasn't setting out to create a punchline that would be beaten to death 16 years later, but these things happen sometimes.
A first world problem is a something that is annoying to you but in the grand scheme of the world is utterly trivial. Soup being too hot to eat right away, having to sit through a pre-roll before a YouTube video, the batteries in your remote control dying -- all manner of things that are annoying but pale in comparison to hunger, genocide and lack of clean drinking water.
Music has its share of songs that feature trivial issues. Art is often used as a way to get over the things that upset us, even when those things are pretty silly.
In honor of Mr. Good turning 41 recently (June 29), we're honoring his inadvertent position as the father of a meme by picking out some of the more perplexing first world problems in modern music.1. Theory of a Deadman, "Hate My Life"The Problem:
Dads get pissed when you hit on their underage daughters.
As a list of first world problems, "Hate My Life" hits the notes of dissatisfaction that many people can relate to. Unhappiness at work? Check. Significant other who is materialistic? Check. Inconsiderate drivers? Check. All your friends have more money than you? Check. The inability to know if a hot chick is underage? Che -- wait, what?
Here is a problem that could have easily been avoided. First, don't call a woman (no matter how old she is) a nice piece of ass. Secondly, if you absolutely must refer to her as such, don't call her that (no matter how old she is) in front of her father. Even if she thought it was funny or cute, you'll never get invited to Thanksgiving dinner.
2. Kanye West, "Take One For the Team" The Problem: People don't take care of their house or smell the way I like.
Kanye lives a life that most of us can't even dream about. It's luxury on top of wealth with a whole bunch of fame on top. It's a life that is probably foreign to roughly 95 percent of the people reading this blog right now.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that he has unrealistic expectations for the people he comes in contact with. Remember when he mandated that everyone in G.O.O.D. music wear the same suit? That's the type of behavior you can get away with when you're the guy in charge.
It's fascinating to see that he's so annoyed by people's choice of lotion. I can't tell you what Love Spell or Cool Water smell like, but I can't imagine it's so awful I'd drop half a verse on the subject. And being upset that people have plastic couches? Dude, you're rich: if you like them enough to hang out at their house just buy them some good furniture.3. Cher Lloyd, "Want You Back" The Problem:
You didn't change your eating habits after we broke up.
It's a tale as old as time: you think you can do better so you dump your significant other, then you get upset when they get over you and move on to someone else. Most people see that as a learning experience and make a note about not giving up on a relationship so quickly in the future.
But this is pop music we're talking about, and things are rarely that simple. You could probably build a pretty solid mixtape out of songs where the artist in question laments about how the person they dumped is happier without them.
The perplexing thing about this song, aside from the decision to shoot the video in the same diner where Cee Lo's "Fuck You" takes place, is just how upset she is that her ex is taking his new girl out to the same places they used to eat. After a break up restaurants are fair game unless mutually decided on by both parties. You got to break his heart, you don't get to keep the diner too.4. Best Coast, "Goodbye" The Problem:
Cats lack vocal cords.
I'm not anti-cat. I've had more cats as pets than any other animal. I come from a long line of people who keep cats around. But I've never wished my cat could talk.
I understand that love lost can wreak havoc on someone's emotional condition, especially when the other things in your life aren't going well. You're already sad, you lose your job, and the weed isn't doing much for you? Of course you're going to be looking for something to make you feel better.
I get wanting to talk to your mom in that situation, but wishing you could talk to your cat? Even if it had the capacity for speech, do you really thing the cat knows enough about love to give you any meaningful advice? It would probably just tell you to cheer up and get it some Fancy Feast.5. Nickelback, "Rockstar" The problem:
I am not a rock star.
Rock stars singing about wanting to be rock stars is a lot like someone complaining about people overusing the phrase "first world problems"; it's not ironic, it's not meta, it's just weird.
OK, maybe there is an argument to be made here: Chad Kroeger isn't a rock star because he's Chad Kroeger, the guy that everyone loves to hate. Because he is so hated by so many, he doesn't get to experience the perks that come along with being rock star. He'd even be willing to cut his hair and change his identity if it meant living the good life.
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But that can't possibly be it because if you've ever been to a Nickelback concert you'd realize that people love the guy even if a vocal minority hate him. So the truth is it's just kind of a dumb song for a guy like him to sing because at the end of the night he's actually getting on a giant tour bus before hopping on a plane to whatever island paradise he feels like that week.
Then again, he did cut his hair finally...