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Culture Shock

Stars Are Blind by Paris Hilton: The Hero We Need

Let’s face it: we could all use a little escapism right about now. In fact, the current COVID-19 hellscape that we live in requires a special kind of escapism. One that can transport you back to a silly, uncomplicated time – perhaps the 2000’s? In 2006, to be specific, things were really looking up. Angelina Jolie was named the World’s Sexiest Woman. Donald Trump’s greatest contribution to society involved a cable tv feud with Rosie O’Donnell. Hannah Montana premiered on the Disney Channel! I struggle to think of a more historically vacuous time in recent memory, and I yearn for it.

In my quest to fully encapsulate myself within the blissful ignorance of this period, I inevitably fell into the deepest cultural black hole of them all: Paris Hilton. This hotel-heiress-turned-reality-star invented “famous for being famous” at a time when Kim Kardashian was still organizing closets! It’s hard to overstate her influence on popular culture, and yet, it seems we so easily forget her greatest accomplishments. We are all, I hope, more than aware of her and Nicole Richie’s iconic docuseries The Simple Life. The chronicles of braindead socialites traversing middle America must have some political parallel to our present state of affairs; alas, we are in 2006 now, and such things are better left in 2020.

While I could blather on about the intimate details of Paris’ life and lineage, I would be neither the first nor the best to do so. (For that, I highly recommend Jerry Oppenheimer’s “House of Hilton”. Thank me later.) No, no. Today I am here to talk about music. Specifically, our dear Paris’ debut single Stars are Blind.

Perhaps you’ve forgotten Ms. Hilton’s burgeoning music career. Perhaps you were never aware in the first place. Just know that I forgive you, but I will never forget. Because to the surprise of music critics and culture vultures alike, Stars are Blind is just the song Paris was never supposed to record. It’s effortless and breezy. Modern yet instantly classic. Coy, clever, and endlessly repeatable. Best of all, it’s reggae! (To be fair, it’s as much reggae as it is the sonic personification of bottled piña colada. But still, reggae!) Variously described by critics as “perversely enjoyable” and “an incredible fluke”, I am here to say that Stars are Blind is exactly the antidote we all need in the chaos within which we currently exist.

With lyrics intent on meaning as little as possible, there’s no substance to pick apart here – how refreshing! The jaunting guitar strings will get your foot tapping no matter the level of cynicism you enter the tune with. Occasional steel drums are like a warm breeze caressing your cheek at a trashy beach resort. Paris’ vocal technique is best described as Melatonin-Soprano: her dulcet tones are sure to send you into a deep sleep before the second chorus hits. The entire song has the atmosphere of the weirdly un-sexy, softcore programming you might find on the Playboy Channel as a child while looking for cartoons. For just a moment, you’re back. Back in a time where your biggest concern was whether or not Carrie Underwood was going to win American Idol. Back in a time where George Bush being President meant absolutely nothing to you. Back in a time where the closest thing to a Tik Tok dance was Soulja Boy’s “Crank Dat”. And then, just as quickly as it comes, it’s gone.

Until you hit repeat, that is. And I dare you to tell me you won’t. I was like you, too. Naïve and headstrong. Once you let Paris in, she’s not coming out. What’s better, you don’t want her to.

So, as you sit listlessly in quarantine with nothing to occupy you, give Stars are Blind a shot. You might, like me, find that Paris is much more than just a relic of the low-rise 2000’s. Now, more than ever, I think we can agree that she was right: the gods sure are crazy, and goddamn it the stars are blind.


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