There's been a strong element of adolescent male wish fulfillment in all of the songs that Parisian pop trio The Teenagers have foisted upon the world so far, so I suppose it's progress for them to deal with relationships that aren't over as soon as the "seduction" is. The second track of their long-awaited debut Reality Check is delivered mostly in a mocking faux female voice, the sort that an annoyed boyfriend might affect while recounting the latest berating he's received to his drinking buddies. The litany of complaints is dumb but funny, as their lyrics usually are, including a dirty bathroom, an inordinate amount of computer time, treating pepperoni pizza as a vital food group, and compulsively watching Showgirls. It crests in a chorus denying that he loves, or even likes his girl much at all. It all adds up to the sort of smirking misogyny that makes the band's songs seem icky when taken at face value.
But where the song is redemptive (other than its obviously pleasing choppy riffs and sturdy rhythm) is in how it sneaks in an undercurrent of insecurity for its shiftless protagonist. Being the brunt of all this anger makes him wonder whether his girl is really even so keen on him. The brave face chorus morphs from "I'm not in love" to "are you in love?" It makes him seem like an emotionally stunted sap, trying hard to distance himself before the ax falls. While that might not be the most sympathetic stance ever, at least it's a shade of gray or two better than the mean mockery of its beginning. (Reality Check is streaming in its entirety at the band's MySpace)
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