Punk, Partying and Pop Princesses: Vanessa Hudgens’ ‘Spring Breakers’ Ode, “$$$EX” As Susan B. Anthony once famously proclaimed to an empty auditorium in 1869 while rolling on Ecstasy in a pink string bikini: “Can’t you feel my hot sex, heart stop beating?” Wait—sorry, I always get the two confused. I meant Vanessa Hudgens: Former High School Musical Disney tween-turned-Spring Breakers starlet, “Sneakernight” chanteuse, and perhaps the only pop princess to get James Franco gagging on the barrel of a gun. (Well, maybe.) A few weeks ago, Hudgens unveiled her new single produced by Rock Mafia: “$$$EX,” an ode to Spring Breakers featuring the up-and-coming girl group, YLA. (If you haven’t yet, go immediately. No spoilers, but it’s especially required for all Britney stans. I won’t soon be the same.) “$$$ex” is essentially the sonic equivalent to any of the film’s nightmarish party scenes — a heart-racing, anxiety-inducing, pupil-dilating free-for-all full of stabbing Skrillex-lite synthesizers, screams, shouts, let-it-all-outs, a demented spin on the children’s clapping song “Down Down Baby,” reckless abandon and a whole lot of fuckin’ attitude. “Fifty in his pocket, condom in his wallet/He’s not gonna sleep tonight,” Hudgens cooly purrs. But don’t be deceived by the bouncy beats: The track’s got an aggressive post-punk edge that probably won’t be properly appreciated anytime soon (really!) — think Romeo Void‘s “Never Say Never” (“I might like you better if we slept together”) and The Runaways‘ “Cherry Bomb.” It’s a pretty, pretty pink package wrapped around a chainsaw — Lolitas with an axe to grind, if you will: “You think you’re so fucking clever! Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness!” the bad girls growl. Am I going too far with the praise? I might be. I don’t think I am, though! It’s a clever track, and entirely fitting for the movie and its complex social commentary. Take Peaches, throw her in a blender with Skrillex and then lightly stir in some sugar and LA extravagance, and there you have it: “$$$EX.” Today, along with the news of Hudgens’ arrival to Tumblr and Twitter (and no, this isn’t some cruel April Fools’ Day joke–SHE’S HERE AT LAST!), Hudgens has released a 30-second video for the song, featuring the feisty girls of YLA. Spring Breakers shenanigans quickly ensue with pink ski masks and squirt guns in the “Harlem Shake”-esque tease, but fear not: No Selena Gomezes were harmed in the making of this video. (I hope, anyway.) “$$$ex (feat. YLA)” was released on March 31. (iTunes) http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1051230057 Drew Novak Excellent track. ‘Spring Breakers’ is my favorite movie of 2013 so far, and I’ll never look at Hudgens the same way again. This is an excellent thing.