CD Review: Everybody Was In The French Resistance … Now! – Fixin’ the Charts Vol. 1; Playing The EARL May 17
Everybody Was In The French Resistance … Now!
Fixin’ the Charts Vol. 1
By Jennifer Gibson
Art Brut’s Eddie Argos and his girlfriend Dyan Valdes of The Blood Arm may have made one of the most intellectually-stimulating records in recent memory. Stimulating, that is, for music geeks. For everyone else, it’s just one of the easiest good times they might have all year.
Fixin’ the Charts Vol. 1 is their debut as Everybody Was In The French Resistance … Now! It’s a mouthful, but so is the concept – take several hit songs and rewrite them from a skewed but more interesting viewpoint. Part of the fun is trying to decipher which songs inspired them. Some are obvious – “Billie’s Genes” takes on the son who was denied by Michael Jackson all those years ago, while “Hey! It’s Jimmy Mack,” defends Martha and the Vandellas’ wronged boyfriend with the line, “If that’s your attitude, I’m never coming back!” Others might take a moment to get, like “Coal Digger,” which tells the side of the story neglected by Kanye West in “Gold Digger.” And some are just funny, like when Argos tells the stalker Avril Lavigne, “I’m very in love with someone else, I’ve got concerns about your mental health,” in “G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N. (You know I got).”
But response songs aren’t much of a novelty, and that in itself isn’t a reason to like the record. It’s Argos’ inexplicable wit and charm, which shine through on each track (other than the bratty Cockney accent it’s hard to grasp), and clever lyrics that carry the record. And the music is a blast, not so much indie rock as it is a funky blend of pop and retro horns. (Especially “(I’m So) Waldo P. Emerson Jones.”) It makes for 12 seriously fun, danceable tracks, and if you happen to connect the dots when your friends can’t maybe you’ll feel smarter, too.