Song Fail of the Week: Elle Varner's Vapid "So Fly"

Categories: Oh, Really?

Earlier this week, we heard a song that stopped us dead in our tracks and made our jaws drop a little bit. Not because it's particularly awesome (musically-speaking, it kind of just sounds like a lady version of "The Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars), and not because it's saying something we haven't heard before. No, Elle Varner's "So Fly" single made us listen precisely because it says so much that we are sick of hearing.

The opening lines to "So Fly" are as follows:
"I can't help being depressed, when I look down at my chest,
oh yes, my chest, it might as well be non-existent.
How can I ever compete with 34 double-Ds?"

"Okay," we thought, "she's being sarcastic. Or at the very least, ironic. This is like a post-post-feminist version of 'Dress' by P.J. Harvey! Yes, that must be it! Let's continue listening and see where this goes..."

"So Fly" continues:
"And I'm rolling my eyes when I look down at my thighs,
They might as well tape everything that I eat to my legs.
I am too broke for the knife, too lazy to exercise,
But if I had hazel eyes, maybe I could be fly.

"If I had no cellulite, big breasts and pockets real wide,
Then maybe, I could be so fly.
And if I had a small waist, I'd make the boys go insane,
And maybe I could be so fly."

Is anyone else bored? Isn't Elle Varner kind of belaboring the point? There has to be an intelligent point to all this eventually, right?

And on she goes...
"I've got a beautiful soul, but only four people know,
They've known me since I was 10, beauty did not matter then."

Okay, Elle, come clean! What utopia did you grow up in where beauty didn't matter to 10-year-olds? Because where we grew up, children were incredibly cruel to anything outside of the norm -- just ask anybody who was chubby, or had big ears, a misshapen nose, or well, pretty much anything different.

It's no surprise that Elle doesn't really understand the pitfalls of children who are bullied for being ugly. Here she is, performing "So Fly" live. Behold, world! This is Elle Varner, with her flat chest and enormous waist, on stage with her chunky thighs and non-hazel eyes, for all the world to see! Brace yourselves!

Okay, okay, we get it. The pressures put on all women to live up to an unreachable, unrealistic norm are so intense that even the most beautiful females on earth are needlessly insecure about their appearance. Surely that's where this song is going. Right? 

Well, not really, no. Instead, she kind of whines some more about how ugly and fat she is, then gets to this part:
"So basically all that I need is to be everything but me,
Colored contacts, liposuction and breast implants,"

Oh, god, woman, get to the point already! ... Oh. Okay. Here it is:
"Somehow that don't make much sense, I must be out of my head,
If I think that I am governed by material things,
So I decided I'm the definition of fly and if you want to know why,
I know what money can't buy."

Wait, what? Why is this about money and material stuff now? We thought we were talking about small boobs and big bellies and fat thighs. We thought this was about female insecurity about physical attributes deemed wrong by corners of the media, the fashion industry and advertising campaigns that like to lie to us to make a ton of money.

No. Elle Varner's final, earth-shattering point is:
"Don't go believing the hype, there's no runway in the sky,
And no way you could be fly, not if it costs you a dime.

Here's what we think Elle Varner is trying to say: (a) true beauty lies on the inside, and (b) cosmetic surgery is a waste of money.

Here's what Elle Varner is actually saying in this song: (a) if you don't physically measure up to the unrealistic expectations of the world, it's okay because one day you'll be dead and in the sky with Jesus, and (b) don't get cosmetic surgery because it costs a lot of money.


At its core, "So Fly" is a totally vapid song dressed up as a meaningful one. It's a long lingering look at female insecurities that never calls out the causes of them. It's a song that tells us not to bother getting cosmetic surgery -- but only because when we're dead, whether we were pretty or not won't matter anymore. It's a song that reinforces the stereotype that all non-model women hate themselves.

And what's worst of all is that "So Fly" dresses itself up as empowered on some level, but will, in actual fact, just make a legion of young women question their own physical attributes. To boot, it repeatedly makes the point that dudes don't dig fat girls, so, sorry larger ladies, you are shit out of luck. If you stay fat, you'll be alone forever (because only your family and childhood friends can see your inner beauty), and if you get liposuction, you're a bad person for wasting all that money. Have fun with that!

So, Elle Varner, congratulations. You made us stop. You made us listen. But then you just made us angry. We suggest that next time you try and write an anthem about female empowerment, you don't resort to ugly stereotypes, a crazy amount of self-referential whining, and overly simplistic conclusions that are largely irrelevant to the subject matter. Now that would be fly.   

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First of I want to say I love this song. Second she, like Clearwater said wrote this song when she was heavier and even if she didn't its still some ppl out there that can actually relate to this song. Me being a heavier girl can most definitely relate to this song. Third of u see in the second verse she clearly says " now in my 20's all that matters is sex cars and money". So dis shows me dat all alone it was about money and looks plus in the first verse she says she can't afford the knife so it always was about the money.fourthly I know when I was growing up and I was the ugly kid no one ever cared it was like everyone wanted to be happy and have friends so I understand her when she says that at the age of 10 looks didn't matter. Anyone can look at a song and find flaws bt it takes a real person who actually listens to songs to really and fully understand a song. Bt for those of u who dnt let me break it down for u she is saying that when she was younger looks didn't matter bt now dats she's older she sees that the media is brainwashing ppl, (in my words nt hers) to think they can only look good if they have the skinny waist and biggest breast ect. Bt she wants ppl to know that it's okay to love itself just the way u r and u r beautiful despite how the media or anyone else feels u should look


O_o she wrote this song years ago when she used to be heavier. wtf. 


Ctfu. Really? Is this really how you interpret this song? Unbelievable. You can't be serious to have interpreted this song in this way. It sounds as if you just needed something to "hate on" at the time. Either that or you just lack some sort of social intelligence to have completely missed the intention of what she was ACTUALLY saying.


U must be really sad about your shit life to interprete this inspiring lyrics into hate.


how misinformed you are. you missed the mark interpreting this song and obviously don't get that we ALL have or have had something that made us insecure. So Fly is about embracing who you are and living up to your own standards, not someone else's. If they need you to have money, to "put out" or to have double d's whether nature endowed or purchased, they are lacking not you. It is said that critics are nothing more than people who can't do what you do so they criticize it. Instead of tearing this young artist apart, you should try looking at the world through her eyes and maybe interview the artist before putting words in her mouth. I found this site by accident and won't return to it thanks to your op piece. Needless to say I agree with the other comments.

I am So Fly
I am So Fly

Wow, this is a horrible article and reads like someone who was definitely reaching and trying to meet a deadline. Come on people, it's a little early for April Fools.

This is the first time I've read such an outrageously inaccurate "analysis" of this song. Of the  hundreds of thousands of people who have listened to the song, many have taken it as a song of empowerment. Has it even occurred to the author that this song was in fact written during a time in Elle's life when she was chubby and lacked confidence? If you knew anything about Elle, you'd know that the way she looks now and the confidence she has was not how she was when this song was written. Try listening to some of her other music. She has mixed tape out or simply go on youtube and search "EV" "Refill" "Welcome Home" "32 Flavors" "Ghost" "GO" and I can go on but start with those first. She is who she is today because she made the decision to be healthy for herself and not because of society. 

This song has made a significant impact on the many women and girls who have heard it, and yes, even some men have admitted to feeling this particular song. WE DO GET IT!

And just so you are aware, the point of the song at the end when she says "There's no runway in the sky" is simply meant as a way to say that once we leave this earth, it does not matter how we look or even the type of clothes we wear or money we have. All the time and energy we spend on trying to be what other's think we should be is a waste. We need to accept all the things that make us who we are and the only time we will truly be happy with ourselves is when we recognize the beauty we all have inside of ourselves. Elle has also been quoted as saying that it is her personal choice not to have surgery but does not knock anyone else for doing what they want to do or what makes them happy.

Next time you feel the need to give an opinion of a song, do your research first so that you can make an informed argument rather than sounding like a school aged child learning how to analyze a poem. 

Christian Awori
Christian Awori

Wow!seriously? Who is this us you speak of? Were you mad when Christina Aguilera wrote and sang 'Beautiful?' Come on! why the undue hate? Have you heard anything else she sings or are you judging her on one song that is actually enjoyed by its intended audience? I thought the haters usually come after your first album is released. This is a sorry article. I will honestly look for your other work to see if you are really bad or were just trying to hit a deadline with this one.

Loveme 1 Like

They are wack. I LOVEEEEEEE This Song

Yarbena 1 Like

This is the most ignorant and uninformed article I have ever read. You must be a really miserable human being to take such a powerful and inspiring song and twist it into something negative.

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