Close Reading 24kGoldn

23 May 2023
By Elena Cebulash

Listen. I know that Sproncert was last weekend, but as a Covid freshman who spent last spring term abroad, it was my first and only one! I’m just a little hung up on it— perhaps, I’m in a mood? 

From the first moment I showed two separate IDs, had my bag searched, and a very nice man put a bracelet on me, it was paradise. If you’ve ever been to the Ancient Greek ruins at the Paestum e Velia archeological park in spring, or even seen a photo, you might understand half of the idyllic ambience of Carleton’s Sproncert. 

Rivaling Lolla, Coachella, Gov Ball, etc., this fyre festival had everything: Bottles on Bottles (of Banana Boat sunscreen which I’m deathly allergic to), the longest queue I’ve ever seen in my life (for snow cones— I blended Cotton Candy and Blue Razz), sunburns on the scandinatives (see previous note on toxic SPF), and eventually— 24KGoldn. 

Although the campus was certainly feeling a noticeable lack of Doechii in the leadup to the event, one could argue there was another emotion rising with comparable fervor in her absence: 24KGoldn intrigue. Following a surge in Northfield, MN Google searches for 24KGoldn the moment his replacing Doechii was announced, Carleton students quickly realized they recognized his voice. And soon, “why you always in a mood?” had us by the throats! 

Perhaps it was a last-ditch effort to familiarize ourselves with his discography before the big day, or perhaps it was something more — something elusive. Either way, it was everywhere: Airpods at dangerous decibel levels, speakers on the Mini Bald Spot, sung as a respectful greeting between friends, etc., etc. 

I’ll confess that I never found myself much attracted to “Mood” before the final event (I preferred “Valentino,” you see), but I can’t seem to shake this one. I mean, he played it twice— back to back, actually, and that gave me plenty of time to pause, hear, and listen. In the aftermath, there have been lines playing in my head— not their melodies, necessarily, but the words themselves. Reader, I was transfixed. A part of me simply thinks, “why not this same attention for Valentino? — undeniably the better song,” but there is a far more annoying part of me that set out to write this article. 

In order to investigate, and to share a little bit of Sproncert with the English faculty and staff who may have either missed this event, or somehow missed this song’s Billboard reign during its heyday, I thought I might take on two birds with one walking taco. I’m aware that I’ve written a tremendously long introduction to the main event here, but frankly I was stalling.

Today, I will be close reading 24KGoldn’s illustrious hit, “Mood.” Below, you will find the lyrics to the song, along with a few of my critical thoughts.

24kgoldn refrain
24kgoldn lyrics
24kgoldn lyrics part 3
24kgoldn refrain

Upon first inspection (seriously, this took under a minute), I divided and color-coded the song lyrics into a few different sections. In green is the chorus, which opens, centerfolds, and closes the song, each time doubled. This immediately opened a few thoughts for me: is the chorus repeated six times in the song, or is the doubled sextet just one chorus? Upon close-watching the music video, it seems that 24K and the featured artist whose name I forget take turns singing the chorus lyrics in these doubled instances, which makes me think the repetition is vital to its wholeness. Now, I wonder whether or not his unsolicited encore was actually a nod to this— truly a lot to ponder here. 

Generally, the song tells the story of a male narrator asking his girlfriend to stop being so annoying. That’s about it. She wants things from him, she starts fights, she’s moody, and she acts like she deserves his attention more than his boys, which she doesn’t! Frankly, they shouldn’t be together. 

Moving on, the next instance of repetition in the song I highlighted in yellow. This couplet appears twice in the song, and I find it uninteresting. Moving on. 

The blue portions of the song are verses of unrepeated text, which juxtaposed against the very-repeated green and yellow sections stand out as worthy of a second, third, or even a sixth (make it fair, right?) glance. Having glanced back though, I found only the section I’ve put in red worthy of much investigation. I’ll justify this by paying attention to the first two lines of the first verse: “I could never get attached/ When I start to feel, I unattach.” Yes. Definitely. 

Anyway, back to red. I kind of love this!

Girl, it’s obvious, elephant in the room
And we’re a part of it, don’t act so confused
And you love startin’ it, now I’m in a mood
Now we arguin’ in my bedroom

If we forgive the opening line of the verse for its silliness, we can get into something a bit deeper. The repetition and slant rhymes of each lines’ beginnings make me smile a little, and I just adore the last line of the verse for its simplicity and emotional openness. For a song with so much repetition, it understandably loses its narrative a little to more of a circular plot. This one verse, I argue, stands out from the rest of the song as a short story of its own. I felt this move, 24K. 

I’d like to end my close reading here. I learned the merits of “leave them wanting more” a long time ago, and I don’t wish to victimize you all with an unsolicited encore of my own. I’ll leave you with a few honorable mentions here. 

  • Largely trochaic— nothing to say here 
  • Rhyme is generally uninteresting except for “mismatch, bitch, that was way before you know me.” I abhor this line, truly. Not only do I struggle to understand it at all, but the laziness of changing “knew” to “know” in order to rhyme with “fourties, shorty, for me” really annoys me. What about— “Mismatch, bitch, that was way before you knew me/ Got a lot of love, well you better just do me.” I argue this makes somewhat more sense, fits the emotion and message of the previous couplet on “wetness,” and rhymes. That’s enough. 
  • Everything looks better with a view. Any ideas? Truly at a loss at where this fits into the chorus. 
  • The “I’m not your dad” line really tickles me. It betrays an undeniable entitlement that is, to its credit, consistent in the rest of the song, but I really just find hilarious. He’s like, “stop asking me for things, I’m not your dad!” and I wonder about 24KGoldn’s relationship with his parents. It’s giving parents packing your lunch box and folding your laundry through high school. 
  • “When you could be blowin’ up just like my cellular” — barf. 
  • The wetness lines, juxtaposed alongside 24K shouting at us that he couldn’t feel “the pussy power” are rubbing me the wrong way. This is a feminist close reading, but I could write much better misogyny than this. Anyway. 
  • I’m frustrated. Article Over.