Thirty-five songs. Thirty-five songs on Pink Guy’s latest album/mixtape, “Pink Season” (though technically one or two are skits). This will be relevant in a moment. In the meantime, we should discuss Pink Guy, an alias of George Miller a.k.a. Filthy Frank or Joji. Filthy Frank as a YouTube persona is known chiefly for his intentionally offensive, absurdist content. Boasting over 4.2 million subscribers, Miller wields a large-yet-niche part of the internet.
The Filthy Frank channel (TVFilthyFrank) is notorious for being ridiculously offensive, but in some regards Miller uses it as a way to genuinely speak out on topics through satire. My personal favorite video is one where the character discusses the idea of “being born in the wrong generation” because music was “just so much better” a few decades ago. Systematically and hilariously, Miller tears this idea apart. More often than not, however, his videos consist of absurd or grotesque situations, like decking out a new ride for a wheelchair-bound patient named “Wheelz” or baking and eating a hair-filled cake. I could gush about his channel all day but it’s best to shift the focus to Pink Guy, yet another character from the mind of Miller.
In 2014, Pink Guy released a short, self-titled mixtape through Bandcamp (stylized as “PINK GUY”). The low-budget project consisted of little more than cheap production, cheaper jokes, and ukulele covers of NWA songs — and it was amazing. A cult hit amongst his already niche market, the album was lifted on a pedestal and the songs soon became classics amongst the fanbase, particularly one aptly titled “Kill Yourself.” It served as a conduit for Miller to bring his musical art to a larger audience, something that began paving the way for a much larger discussion.
In early 2017, Pink Guy was back with “Pink Season,” his most objectively offensive release to date. It’s hard to top songs about sexual infatuation with Dora the Explorer (“Dora the Explora”) or genuine directions to a dog-eating festival in China (“Dog Festival Directions”). These may sound completely undesirable, but between the absolutely hilarious bars and the above-average production/instrumentation, it’s a genuinely good album filled with vulgar-yet-amazing tracks. “STFU,” for example, is one of my favorite tracks on the album due to its seamless transitions from the physical to the electronic and back again. If you found “PINK GUY” to be useful only for cheap laughs, “Pink Season” is worth a listen for even cheaper laughs and some genuinely good music.
There’s so many things about this album and the situations regarding its release that I love. I love how when I downloaded it from iTunes that every single track was marked “explicit.” I love how, due to Miller’s large audience, the album shot to the top of iTunes charts in numerous countries the day it dropped. I love how you can’t find it on Spotify with a specific search anymore, but instead have to dig through playlists or find it through some other method, raising questions as to whether Spotify purposefully hid the unclean content. I love how the first three songs sum the album up so well. “Hot Nickel Ball on a Pussy” leads us into the record with a confusing and uncomfortable song about vaginas. The production is sparse and Pink Guy’s voice is pulled back into a shrill hiss. An observation from my roommate helped me realize that this song’s placement could be intentional, serving only to confuse those who have no idea what this album is or why it’s topping the iTunes charts. Beyond that song is the absolute banger of a track “Are You Serious,” which is genuinely one of the best hip hop songs I’ve heard this year — it goes hard. After that is the satirical “White is Right” which, boasting a beat that includes a banjo, needs no description.
One song in particular, “Rice Balls,” raises an interesting point. It’s worth noting that Miller has another musical project titled “Joji.” Only a dusty Soundcloud and a Bandcamp with five songs marks the extent of this project, but it depicts Miller on a non-satirical, non-offensive, “serious” note. The outro to “Rice Balls” is a short, skit-like signoff where Miller mocks fans that berate him to make “Joji music” and “real music.” His response is simple and reasonable: “Bro, I didn’t even know real and fake music existed. I mean, I think it’s, like, your fault for putting that shit into categories. Like, music is music.” And so we reach the main point of contention.
Miller essentially wrapped the argument up for me. Artists like The Lonely Island, “Weird Al” Yankovic and even Pink Guy are all just that: artists. The subtlety and quality of that art is subjective — all art truly is — but for those who take a look at acts like these and dismiss them as “not music,” well, they’re just as ignorant as kids who genuinely believe they were born in the wrong generation because “Pink Floyd is just so much better than mainstream trash.” It’s time to grow up; it’s time to acknowledge that even if it’s meant to make you laugh it can still be art. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, “Pink Season” is a thirty-five-track monster that clocks in at well over an hour. It’s abundantly clear that Miller put a lot of heart and effort into this. Even if one of the songs is the phrase “I like sex” repeated in Japanese over and over again, it’s still content that an artist is putting out there. It’s a project he’s worked hard on, a project he’s probably devoted over a year to, a project that he uses to make genuine points even if just under several layers of satire. There’s art that can make me cry, there’s art that can make me tired, there’s art that can put me in a good mood, and thank God there’s art that can make me laugh.
Pink Guy is different. He’s offensive and vulgar and satirical and talented and hilarious. Miller has created through him an amazing album. Maybe you won’t find it funny, maybe you won’t find the lyrics clever or the instrumentation technically impressive. That’s all okay, you’re welcome to form that opinion and keep it for your whole damn life, but when you start to tear the album down as objectively non-art, you’re overstepping your boundaries. Additionally, berating a man who works tirelessly to supply you with essentially free content about making “real” music as opposed to whatever he’s working on is entirely dehumanizing. Comedy music is real music, plain and simple. It’s instrumentation set to a melody, so at its base, literal definition, it’s music. At the end of the day, it’s up to the artist to produce whatever the hell he wants, and if George Miller wants to record a song called “Meme Machine” under the alias of Pink Guy, then by God let him do it.