Farrah Abraham – My Teenage Dream Ended
by Nathan Goldman (Sociology), published November 8th 2012
Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!
“This is the debut album by the former star of a non-musical reality TV series.” Contained within that sentence are a multitude of negative connotations, which are in this case either completely wrong or absurdly true. My Teenage Dream Ended is a “soundtrack” to the autobiography of the same name by Farrah Abraham, one of the stars of MTV’s infamous series Teen Mom. It is also probably unlike any album you’ve ever heard.
My Teenage Dream Ended is ostensibly a pop album, and by those standards, it is entirely awful. It is immediately clear that it was probably self-produced and certainly not made with the involvement of anyone willing to voice criticism. Moreover, it’s incredibly bizarre. Most distinctive is Farrah’s singing, which is not only treated to levels of Autotune that indicate that Farrah was probably not paying attention last year when the nation was ridiculing Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” but the vocal melodies themselves follow no basic musical rules, with seemingly random progressions of notes and no sense of rhythm. Backing tracks fall into two categories: plaintive GarageBand-style piano/guitar loops, and harsh electronic tracks that seem more indebted to Crystal Castles than to Max Martin.
Yet the appeal of this album extends beyond just its unique sound but in the fact that despite it all, Farrah still connects emotionally with the listener. Each song takes its title from a chapter in the biography, and speaks about the challenges she has faced, which include the effects her pregnancy had on her passage into adulthood, her father’s arrest, her troubled relationship with her daughter’s father before his death, and struggles with drug abuse. “I can only put so much into a song,” she tells us in the opening track “The Phone Call That Changed My Life,” and it’s certainly clear she has a lot of feelings to express. One exception to this highly emotional focus is Farrah’s oddly robotic attempt at cliché self-aggrandizing pop in “The Sunshine State” as she repeats: “F.L.A are my initials; appeal to me,” and even this track is pleasing in its own strange way.
The earnestness and ambition which went into this album make listening to it a highly rewarding experience. I continually find its strange melodies creeping back into my mind, and I listen to tracks over and over trying to puzzle out semi-unintelligible lyrics because I really do care about what Farrah has to say. Whether its weirdness is intentional as a result of some brilliant scheme or just a magnificent failure at creating mainstream pop, My Teenage Dream Ended is one of the most unique and interesting albums I’ve heard all year—far more enjoyable than any number of technically proficient but utterly forgettable albums, and I can guarantee that listening to it is an incomparable experience.
Recommended Tracks: The Phone Call That Changed My Life, After Prom, Liar Liar