This Is How I Learned Pop Music Can Be Garbage And Still So Catchy

by Kate Ryan
Robert Schwartz

When my friend, Caroline, asked me if I wanted to be an extra in her music video, "Dumpster Party," I knew I couldn't say no. Not just because she's my friend and she's hilarious, but also because I couldn't turn down an opportunity to get covered in garbage and dance my ass off.

She was inspired to write the totally listenable, parody-ish song after reflecting on the long history of pop stars acting insane for the sake of entertainment. We all know that, for most pop legends, it's less about the music and more about the look.

I mean, would Miley be Miley without her tiny children's outfits and tongue hanging out all the time? I doubt Lady Gaga would be a household name had she not worn raw meat.

Besides grabbing our attention, the outfits and antics have another important job. That is, they distract from achingly bad music. That's why Nicki Minaj can't stop moving for a single second, because if she did, you'd be like, "WTF am I listening to?"

In some rare cases, though, all the right elements combine to turn trash into treasure. Such was the case with this experience.

I showed up at Caroline's at nine in the morning on a Saturday, clean-faced and ready to get grungy. The three other backup dancers and I dusted ourselves from head to toe in a brown, clay-like powder and finished the look with gold glitter spray. Fabulous.

It was kind of insane how the dirtier we got, the hotter we looked. My face contoured with grime, I began to realize the method to the madness; namely, the more crazy sh*t you cake on, the more amazing you look.

Robert Schwartz

Once we were dumpster ready, we took a moment to go over the choreography.

Listen, guys, I like to dance as much as the next person, but I'm not a dancer by any means. I can never remember how to spell "rhythm," let alone understand it, and I injured myself the one time I tried to twerk.

Enter Ellen, Caroline's BFF and our resident dance mom. She showed us the moves and danced along with us for each take. If it weren't for her, I don't think we could have pulled this thing off without twisting at least one ankle.

The hardest part was trying to keep a straight face while Lindsay, aka Dumpster Girl, pranced around us like a complete maniac. At one point, she caressed two rubber mice from inside an actual dumpster, proving actors will do whatever it takes to get into character.

Caroline Cook

Needless to say, we confused many Bank of America customers looking to draw cash from the ATM in that alley.

Throughout the shoot, Caroline stopped to show us how everything looked on camera. Thanks to Robert's camerawork (the DP) and professional equipment, it looked like a legit, gorgeous music video. For me, the overhead shot of us groping Lindsay's face took it to a new level.

Caroline Cook

Or maybe the magic moment happens during the closeup of her mouthing this line:

I am wearing special glitter, made from other people's litter.

They say all that glitters is not gold, but when it comes to pop music, they could not be more wrong.

Watch "Dumpster Party" in its entirety below.