The Curious Case Of The Clique Girlz

Kate Richardson | June 5, 2008 3:00 am

When the shadowy individuals who dedicate their lives to exploiting preteens for profit mercifully deactivated the JoJo cyborg, humankind slipped into a false sense of security. Believing we were safe from artificially matured pop stars with the bodies of tween girls and the hearts, minds and faces of hardened divorcées, we let our guard down. And thus came Clique Girlz, a new Radio Disney-ready trio so freakishly weathered in spirit one has to wonder if they might be a Benjamin Button-type situation.

In the grand tradition of teensploitation groups, the Clique Girlz’ official bio is a chilling collection of child star clichés and empty music industry rhetoric:

When you meet the three Clique Girlz–sisters Paris and Destinee Monroe along with best friend Ariel Moore–after hearing them sing, it will shock you to learn that such big voices can come from such petite girls.

The pop-rock exuberance of their currently untitled debut album, releasing on Interscope Records, is richly filled with three-part leads and harmonies delivered with a freshness and authority that contradicts their ages.

Working with some of the top-name producers/songwriters in the business, 12-year-old Paris, 13-year-old Destinee and 13-year-old Ariel have stunned industry observers with a professionalism that still doesn’t get in the way of fun.

I’m telling you, they don’t care about having fun because they sowed their wild oats back in 1980, when they were in their early 20s.

One listen and you realize this is no manufactured, teenybopper, bubble-gum group, but a group whose music can appeal to all ages. The three met at school five years ago and became inseparable friends, driven by their love of music and dance to form a group.

In person, Clique Girlz Paris, Destinee and Ariel finish each other’s sentences as they enthusiastically describe the journey that has taken them from their native Atlantic City, NJ, to Hollywood, where Jimmy Iovine himself signed them to his Interscope label.

“Ever since we were born…” begins Destinee, the rocker in the group, who dresses in black, wears classic rock T-shirts covered in skulls and stars and counts Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Green Day, Paramore and Avril Lavigne among her musical favorites.

“We came out singing,” laughs Paris, the princess of the group, who cites Destiny’s Child as an influence and is represented in the group by crowns.

Adds Ariel, whose group symbol is hearts: “The past four years have been so amazing, and this album defines who we are. Our mindset has always been to enjoy every kind of music, from opera and classical to hard rock and R&B.”

Here’s “Then I Woke Up,” and all you need is one listen to realize that this is no manufactured, teenybopper, bubble-gum group:

Right, sounds like Avril Lavigne, more or less. Moving on to the creepiest part of their official bio:

Although Paris, Destinee and Ariel are clearly on their way to stardom, they are careful to maintain the fact they’re still normal teens. Perhaps their only vice is shopping and maxing their parents credit cards at stores like Hot Topic, Betsey Johnson, and Ed Hardy.

The word “clearly” is always such a red flag. How disgustingly presumptive. And since when is maxing out your parents’ credit cards a normal teen activity? I thought debt was a sin unbecoming of fine Christian artists such as Clique Girlz:


Oh, yes. A Christian pop single. Just when you thought their whole vibe couldn’t get any more crass.

Like so many of their ilk, they’ve got behind-the-scenes promotional videos on YouTube:

The most telling moment in this video comes at the 1:40 mark, when the girls are getting into the obligatory black SUV transport vehicle after taking a meeting in Times Square with MTV and Nickelodeon. Ariel (the blond one (haha)) says “We’re just gonna… get on the plane and go back to L.A.” There’s this brief slip in her facade, and for an instant you can see the misery deep down in her soul. It’s as if for a fraction of a second she remembers that she’s 13, and she shouldn’t be taking business meetings in midtown, or routinely commuting between New York and L.A.

Obviously there’s nothing new or special about Clique Girlz–as long as you don’t count the very real possibility that they may be aging backwards–but they’re a good case study in just how over-saturated and lazy the world of tween-oriented pop music has become. It’s about time for them to leave (get out).

Clique Girlz [Official Site]