Six-Star Songs: Vennu Mallesh, “It’s My Life What Ever I Wanna Do” (2012)

Great art comes in all shapes and sizes. Yes, great art can even be bad. In this author’s humble opinion, one thing that makes art great is the amount of joy one can obtain from it, and in the case of “bad” music” — which is often accompanied by a “bad” video nowadays — how can one possibly deny the joy they get from laughing at it? What’s more, it is often the case that most “talented” artists couldn’t make something that bad even if they tried. At the end of the day, these “bad” artists have a rare talent whether they like it or not, and I hope they can come to terms with their offbeat abilities and eventually learn to embrace them.

I have long been a fan of bad YouTube music videos. Just when I thought I had seen it all, one day I didn’t cancel out of the site’s autoplay feature fast enough and “It’s My Life What Ever I Wanna Do”, Vennu Mallesh’s magnum opus, started playing. That proved quite the fateful day because this song may now just be my favorite song of all time.

Where do I begin describing how amazing this song is? It is a never-ending string of brilliant production choices: the broken English, the autotune, the choppy song structure that appears to go in whatever direction it wants at any given moment, the cheesy synthetic drum sounds and sound effects. The video is a surefire winner also. In it Mallesh is depicted recording the track in the studio with a guest female vocalist and what appears to be a recording engineer and a producer. Everyone plays their role in making this an amazing video, from the producers counting Vennu in off-beat to his guest star laughing under her breath as the track plays (not to mention the fact that they put her giggling in the video).

But perhaps the real crown jewel of this experience is the lyrics and the overall message of the song. Mallesh is determined to convince us what a misunderstood, free-spirited rebel he is, and he excels at this task. Mallesh is deep too, borrowing from the paradoxes of Eastern philosophies such as zen buddhism and taoism (“I am a very good bad boy”; “I am a true liar”).

Above all, the multi-talented artist feels disconnected from the world. Our protagonist appears to be making the choice to be alone and encourages us to do the same if we want. And this is all done in the face of the guest female vocalist who doubles in her role as Vennu’s heckler, lecturing him about responsibility. But by the end of the song, you know that Mallesh is not a conformist. He is going to continue living the dream of being a bad YouTube artist no matter what the haters say, which include his teacher, neighbor, and mother.

Ironically, this song genuinely resonates with me when I think about my mental illness. When I first started having frequent panic attacks, my impulse was to cling to others and to resist being alone. Eventually though, I toughened up, worked through it, and now I actually prefer my alone time to many social situations.

The ethical side of me is a little compelled to feel bad laughing at stuff like this. Then again, fame is fame, and with 18 millions views, Vennu Mallesh definitely has big YouTube fame. I also genuinely love the song. I think it’s hilarious but I also think it’s amazing, and I’m glad I feel that the joy it brings is paramount to any bad feelings that may be related to the humor I find in it.