The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

‘JoJo! Have you learned nothing?’ Siwa returns with confusing new single

JoJo! Have you learned nothing? Siwa returns with confusing new single
Photo Courtesy of Genius

Rating: 1/10


In a single advertised to serve as a spiteful yet empowering clap-back to her exes, JoJo Siwa has fans begging that “Karma” will be served for what their eyes and ears had to endure.

After her starring role as Abby Lee Miller’s pupil on the hit series “Dance Moms,” Siwa became a children’s pop sensation, releasing songs like “Boomerang” that promote brushing off the haters and market her signature bows. 

Siwa received a fair amount of success in this era and went on to expand this brand into her tween girl group, XOMG POP!

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However, Siwa eventually grew tired of only catering to a younger audience. “Karma” has been branded as a transition away from her high-pony-clad, bubblegum-pop era. And oh boy, are people confused.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Siwa cited her inspirations for the track as Elvis Presley, Prince, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus to name a few. 

However, the song is a far cry from Swift’s “Reputation” era or even Cyrus’s “Bangerz” album — it’s more reminiscent of SpongeBob SquarePants’s “Goofy Goober Rock, in which Patrick Star dons fishnet tights and leather boots in a bid to prove his maturity.

The lyricism feels sloppy, and Siwa’s marketing of the song as an explicit entry into the industry feels like false advertising. In the main chorus, Siwa abbreviates a curse, making what’s supposed to be the main draw of a mature track feel juvenile.

Karma’s a b—-, I should’ve known better/ If I had a wish, I would’ve never effed around,” Siwa sings on the track.

An additional issue within the track itself is the opening line, which refers to Siwa’s supposedly rebellious past.

“I was a bad girl, I did some bad things/ I swear I did it all for fun and it meant nothing,” Siwa sings.

Knowing that Siwa’s past of reality stardom and kid-focused music is less than a decade behind her, listeners are left guessing what devious era she’s referring to. Her iconic image as a family-friendly entertainer is difficult to separate, making the single seem ingenuine and hard to resonate with.

Adding to the confusion surrounding the song’s target audience, the “Karma” music video is set on a yacht. Knowing the song is confirmed by Siwa to be about one of her exes, the nautical, sea-siren theming of the video definitely makes viewers raise eyebrows.

The video, while featuring some choreography that has taken TikTok by storm, doesn’t really pack as much of a comedic punch when realizing that it isn’t satirical. Siwa somehow equates a series of fist pumps, overly dramatic hair flips and falling off a yacht’s railing to an explicit track about her love life.

The end of the video, after three costume changes and lots of rhinestones, features Siwa performing sexually explicit moves dressed as a Gene-Simmons-esque siren. Then, for some unknown reason, an interesting reversal of Siwa’s fall into the water made the final cut.

Overall, Siwa tried to market a song meant for a Hot Topic dressing room to a young adult demographic. Neglecting the fact that the video is hard to admire from a conceptual standpoint, Siwa needed a track that had some emotional depth before building a strong fanbase with a newer demographic. “Karma” does not deliver on this level.


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Mary Piacente
Mary Piacente, News Editor
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