Everybody Was in the French Resistance… Now! | Fixin’ The Charts, Volume One
Most Likely To: hold your interest for exactly the amount of time it takes you to decipher the pop songs referenced in the tracklist (provided below), and then commence boring the ever-loving shit out of you.
The general consensus seems to be that Art Brut‘s Eddie Argos is a likeable prig, and whereas his crafted schtick may be wearing a little thin as time progresses and they continue to release music, he remains in the good graces of most indie-rock lovers.
With Art Brut, he has carved out a special little niche in the indie world with trademark sardonic humor and spoken/sung vocal delivery. It might be that half of the charm of Eddie Argos is the exoticism of his accent, because he lacks the phonetic bravado of Mark E. Smith and if you stripped away the accent all of the glaring rhythmic holes in his delivery would open up like chasms and Art Brut would sound alot more like Everlast backed by crunchy alt-rock guitars.
Luckily for us, Art Brut toes the line deftly, and (as their name implies) what they produce may not be high art, but it is most certainly a snotty good time.
In his latest effort sans the Brut, Argos has teamed up with Dyan Valdes of The Blood Arm to apply his wit and delivery to a collection of songs written as responses to other, more famous pop songs. Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! uses the craft of pop song to attack the pop song canon, and after spending a little bit of time wearing your musical detective hat to sleuth out the source material for the tracklist, and listening to the songs once through, the clever ruse becomes a little trying.
The first listen is thoroughly enjoyable, if you are a fan of pop music and have some familiarity with the songs which Argos and Valdes are sending up, you will get a kick out of connecting the dots, referentially speaking. Listen to the album a second time, though, and the enjoyment starts to erode. This is a batch of pretty weak material, both musically and lyrically, built around a clever and fleeting premise. The novelty wears off and you are left with this highly underwhelming effort. Listen to the album a third time at your own peril, because you will just get pissed off that you gave this album exactly that much of your attention.
Here’s an idea. Instead of listening to this ill-conceived album, do yourself a favor and just go straight to the source material, because there are some classic pop gems there. You can skip the smarmy, canned cynicism and dig on some good old fashioned pop songs. You’ll find it more spiritually rewarding. If that doesn’t suit you, then find your way back to Art Brut’s output to hear Argos do what he does best and file this one under “To Be Forgotten”.
I’ll even spoil the detective work for you and provide the source material track by track, so you won’t even have to dust off your detective hat. Thanks Internet!
1. Creeque Allies – Response to “Creeque Alley” by the Mamas and the Papas
2. G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N (You Know I’ve Got A) – Response to “Girlfriend” made famous by Avril Lavigne (with assumed apologies to Jonathan Richman)
3. (I’m So) Waldo P. Emerson Jones – Response to “Waldo P. Emerson Jones” made famous by The Archies
4. The Scarborough Affaire – Response to “Scarborough Fair,” traditional
5. Billie’s Genes – Response to “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
6. Think Twice (It’s Not Alright) – Response to “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan
7. Hey! It’s Jimmy Mack – Response to “Jimmy Mack” made famous by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
8. He’s a “Rebel” – Response to “He’s A Rebel” made famous by The Crystals
9. Coal Digger – Response to “Gold Digger” by Kanye West
10. My Way (Is Not Always the Best Way) – Response to “My Way” made famous by Frank Sinatra
11. Superglue – Response to “Vaseline” by Elastica
12. Walk Alone – Response to “You’ll Never Walk Alone” made famous by Gerry and the Pacemakers
Watch the video for “G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N (You Know I’ve Got A)” below: