Ain’t No Party Like Aaron’s Party

via Facebook

via Facebook

When my friends and I arrived at El Corazon, the bouncer asked us which concert we were going to. My friends, too embarrassed to tell this bouncer the truth, turned to me in desperation. “Aaron Carter,” I told him. “We want to see Aaron Carter.”

He directed us to the left half of the venue and we scuttled off in shame.

It was certainly not the first time the bouncer had watched a group of adults hesitate to admit that they had spent $20 to crash Aaron’s party, or should I say After Party, which he so aptly named his 2013 comeback tour.

In a March interview posted by a fan on Youtube, Carter called the After Party Tour a “movement”—a movement geared toward reviving Carter’s long-dead and long-mocked career.

“The After Party…it’s just me. If you don’t like it, don’t come to the After Party,” said Carter. “If you’re at the After Party and you don’t like it, we’ll kick you out.”

As far as I know, no one was kicked out of the After Party.

According to Carter, he played three sold-out shows in the first nine days of his tour. If the venues were as small as El Corazon, that’s no surprise.

The After Party side of El Corazon—the cool side—was packed. High schoolers, drunk young professionals and tattooed 30-somethings with full beards had gathered to mourn the loss of their innocence and celebrate perhaps the greatest orator of our generation.

The evening was one long, euphoric blur. Overwhelmed with nostalgia, the happy, intoxicated throng reveled in Carter’s poetic lyricism as he transported us back to the halcyon years of elementary school.
To the delight of concertgoers, Carter’s music hasn’t matured much, nor has his wardrobe. Wearing a bro tank and backwards cap, Carter mostly stuck to his childhood repertoire and embraced it for all it’s worth. Throughout the night he performed only two new songs and an unimpressive cover of “Thrift Shop,” which were crushed in the wake of crowd favorites like “I Want Candy,” “Bounce” and “Aaron’s Party.” When Carter told us the story of how he beat Shaq, the audience responded with resounding “booms,” “slams” and “jams.”

Throughout the night he changed bro tanks twice. The first tank depicted the American flag and the second, Captain America’s shield—who knew he was such a patriot—and by the concert’s grand finale, Carter and his backup dancers were shirtless and the audience was ecstatic.

Although the After Party was a joyous celebration of times gone by, it was sad to see that the now 25-year-old Carter is still stuck in the early 2000s. Like Peter Pan, Carter is trapped in boyhood and pretending to be 13 has become his livelihood. Carter is a novelty, a cheap novelty, and his pool of loyal fans are loyal not because they think he’s talented or want him to succeed, but because he’s a joke—he is a fallen child star with nice abs and many patriotic bro tanks.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a legitimate musician worth rooting for.

Distracted by his spiked hair and general lack of talent, we so often fail to realize that Carter is actually a musical pioneer. He invented an entire genre—one that, thankfully, no artist has copied since. Before he even hit puberty, Carter had created an original, narrative style of music that is wholly unique.

The pop star is not a rapper, but he’s certainly not a singer. Instead, he simply speaks. At the beginning of each song, he says, “Hey guys, I’m gonna to tell you a story” and he cuts out all of those high-brow metaphors that so often weigh down musical storytelling. And therein lies his genius.
Aaron Carter just tells it like it is. He doesn’t mess around.

Songs like “Aaron’s Party” carry on an oral tradition that has been lost in modern American society. Carter is the great moral orator of our generation.

Most of Carter’s songs are contemporary parables in the vein of Aesop, Jean de la Fontaine and R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet”—“Oh Aaron” taught us that lying is wrong and “Aaron’s Party” taught us that, if you’re going to throw a raging party, be prepared for people to crash it.

These are lessons we live by.

So next time you hate on Aaron Carter, remember: ain’t nobody do it like Aaron can.

Kellie may be reached at [email protected]