The Hater's Guide to Karmin

Who's that making Saturday Night Live even worse this weekend? Why, it's insufferable novelty rap-cover duo Karmin. Who? you ask. Allow us to explain.

Who is Karmin?
Karmin is 25-year-old engaged Berklee College of Music graduates Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan.

I've never heard of them before. Why are they on Saturday Night Live?
For some unfathomable reason that probably involves the words "eyeballs" and "monetize," Saturday Night Live has a new strategy of that involves inviting internet-popular acts — like Lana Del Rey or Karmin.

What kind of music do they make?
They write and perform Dr. Luke-style radio pop songs, with Heidemann on the main vocals and Noonan just sort of hanging out. I guess he helps write the songs, or something. Heidemann also raps, sometimes.

Raps.
That's not really a question. But yes.

Uh-oh.
Karmin is "big on the internet" not because of their original songs but because of a widely-circulated series of cutesy covers of popular rap and R&B songs they recorded and uploaded to YouTube last year.

Cutesy covers of popular rap and R&B songs?
At left: their cover of Chris Brown's "Look At Me Now"

Saturday Night Live is inviting a YouTube novelty act to perform on its stage.
Well, they're inviting a YouTube novelty act to perform... and the novelty act isn't even performing their novelty hits.

They are really, really desperate for approval, aren't they?
Yeah. It's kind of horrible, isn't it? The way they're desperate for you to like them, and you're desperate to for the song to stop playing so you can set fire to the entire planet for having provided an opportunity for something like this to exist.

What's wrong with her face?
Experts tell me that Heidemann suffers from a tragic syndrome known as "theater kid" that manifests itself as extreme and frequent facial and gestural tics. There is no known cure. (See also: Anne Hathaway, Katy Perry, Neil Patrick Harris.)

What is the appeal of... this thing, exactly?
I don't want to guess at people's motives for liking this cover, because that would require me to think about this cover, but isn't it kind of shocking that so many people who claim to hate rap or R&B suddenly like it when it's performed by approachable young white people playing "real instruments"? Just something weird to think about.

Are you saying that all people who like Karmin are racist?
No, not at all. Just that, you know, for some people, there may be some unspoken cultural biases at play. Like racism.

Do you think Karmin are racist?
No. I do think their existence is a crime against humanity on par with racism.

But at least their original songs don't invite the same kind of YouTube commenter bullshit, right?
Yes. But... their original songs are like having your brain removed through your nose with a coat hanger. Here, listen to "Crash Your Party"

That is terrible. Is there an evocative way of summing up that song?
The Village Voice's Maura Johnston memorably described "Crash Your Party" as "a boot covered in pictures of Pomplamoose and Jessie J and the band that white-boy covered 'Boyz N The Hood' a few years back stomping on a human face. Forever."

Why, again, are these people on Saturday Night Live?
Because the internet likes them, and the internet makes all the decisions from now on. Sorry.

By the way, where does their name come from?
"The name of the band," Wikipedia tells us, "derives from the Latin word carmen, which means 'song,' with a slightly altered spelling to 'hint at "karma."'"

Oh, god.
I know.