Local business-owner Rhonda Lamprey has seen some strange things in her 41 years as the owner of Butterfly Salon & Beauty Supply, a San Bernardino-based purveyor of wigs and hair-care products. She has seen fads come and go; she has seen bouffants, beehives, and box braids. But never has she seen anything so strange as the wave of radiant energy which swept through her humble storefront last night from 12:00:00 AM to 12:13:18 AM Pacific Standard Time, reducing hundreds of wigs to ash in its wake.
“I mean, as a wig retailer, I’m familiar with this sort of thing,” says Lamprey. “Carly Rae Jepsen drops a new single; fifty of our wigs disintegrate instantaneously. Whatever. It comes with the territory. But I’m telling you, our entire stock evaporated last night.”
As thousands of retailers nationwide reported similar stories, federal authorities quickly pinpointed the cause of the destruction: a surprise musical release by Seattle-based independent rock band Car Seat Headrest. The song, entitled “Beach Life-in-Death,” is a re-recording of an earlier song of the same name from the 2011 album Twin Fantasy. Its release to streaming services and digital music stores has reportedly caused nearly $224 million in property damage to brick-and-mortar wig stores across the United States.
“Thankfully, we purchased insurance for our boutique after the Beyoncé Massacre of April 2016,” says wig retailer Brenda Gottfried, who manages Lexington-Fayette’s First Lady Wigs, tears glistening in her eyes at the memory. “But if we hadn’t… I mean, the song is thirteen minutes long. That’s a full minute longer than the original version. And he holds doooooooooooogs until his lungs give out. No wig – no wig – is capable of withstanding that.”
Outside of the wig-retailing community, the song has been well-received, garnering positive responses and critical acclaim. Music publication Pitchfork went so far as to award “Beach Life-in-Death” the distinction of Best New Track, without apparent regard for the many thousands the song has left wigless.
“It’s just disgraceful, if you ask me,” says Cars frontman Ric Ocasek. “My own struggles against Car Seat Headrest’s wanton wig destruction are well-documented, so I may be accused of bias here, but their constant and consistent disregard for the synthetic hair industry is simply egregious.”
An official spokesperson for the band declined to comment. However, drummer Andrew Katz took to Instagram in the wake of the incident, posting a video wherein he arranged several bundles of Brazilian weave extensions to form the words “WEEP FOR YOUR FAVE,” doused the bundles in kerosene, and immolated the display with a Bic lighter.