Welcome to Is This Music?, where we definitively determine what does and what does not qualify as music.
We, the culture experts at VICE, have listened to hours upon hours of what is known as "music," deciphering its tones, measuring its slappability, and deducing whether a specific collection of sounds can be considered music at all. My colleague, Bettina Makalintal, analyzed a video of a woman playing two recorders with her nostrils, and after much consideration, came to a resolute conclusion. A squeaky dryer may sound just like Missy Elliot's classic club banger "One Minute Man"—undoubtedly a song—but does a household appliance replicating the rhythm of that song count as a song in itself? Do I suddenly understand Inception? Did the edibles just hit? This is what we aim to investigate, and today, friends, we have a mildly horrifying head-scratcher to unpack.
A video capturing the moment in which pop icon Britney Spears broke her foot.
Spears is indisputably a maker of music—a bunch of her songs have even been in the Billboard charts and all that! She's also a fan of posting videos of herself practicing dance routines on Instagram. On this particular occasion, she was performing an energetic array of child-like spins to Kings of Leon's "Sex On Fire," a song which itself can be categorized as music. (Bad music, but we digress.) During an attempt at a spirited jump, we clearly hear the cold, stomach-churning snap of her delicate metatarsal bone soundtracked by the sounds of the Followill family. The sound somewhat resembles the whip heard at the beginning of the freestyle classic "Let the Music Play" by Shannon or the whip sound on Dazz Band's 1982 cookout jam "Let it Whip." I'm sure there's a neo-dark wave band or a cheerleading music DJ out there that would be willing to sample the snap of Brit Brit's foot into something danceable. The ethics of that are questionable, but it could be a pretty tight song.
Sadly, this is not music. This is a major injury. While it has a sonic quality to it that is somewhat compelling (albeit upsetting) and which could be used as a flourish on a sick beat, in itself, we cannot deem it music. *gavel*
Alex Zaragoza is a senior staff writer at VICE.