The Soft Pink Truth
Do You Want New Wave, or Do You Want the Soft Pink Truth?
r do you just want to ball? At less than 33 minutes, this album alone may not do the trick, but it hits most of the right spots. There’s a track here that would fit on any dance or sex mix; which you personally choose depends on how much you want your head involved in the activity. Per usual, Drew Daniel has worked a very focused concept—all covers of mid-to-late 80’s hardcore obscurities. The homogeneity he tends toward is partly avoided by the different writers, and a real vocal presence on nearly all the tracks.
“Kitchen” opens the album nicely with a farfisesque riff and a few stabs that sound like varied combinations of sneezes, squeals and whoopee cushions before the real beat, a way stoopid human beatbox, picks things up. The lyrics are evocative of a Valiumed housewife cleaning away in the ‘50’s—“Don’t take that Frigidaire away from me”; the percussive flourishes (castanets, cowbells, snaps-n-claps, etc.) indicate that the blue pill was chased by a martini. It takes a few listens, as with most of the album, to realize just how sharp the production is. Riffs are repeated with minor variations; many sounds are so hybridized that one can only guess which analog sources were combined.
After a couple of OK lower-class/nerd grinds that must’ve been among Drew’s H.S. faves, “Media Friend/VSB” is the first real stormer on the album, sounding something like “No Parking on the Dance Floor” had EBN performed it. The lyrics alone make it the most topical track on the album: “Do you find you’re getting yellow, when you know you’re in the redredred. I’m your media friend—transparent. Such. Close. Friend… roundtheclock!”
“I Owe it to the Girls” can’t be done justice to in print. The primary lyrics should be heard, not read. The slow strut moves from complacent to assured to strident at a very even pace. The wicky-wicks and snapcracklepops on top of humungous squelches strain the song’s seams, but the real climax is a particularly dope “Gettin’ hot; think I’m gonna flip: hot! I be jammin’work this oh work this work this—I be def!” Um, yeah, you do…
The two most likely recognizable songs follow. Minor Threat’s straightedge manifesto “Out of Step” is upended by being the chirpiest track on the disc. Furthermore, “I don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t fuck; at least I can fucking think” has inhalations, slurpings, and moans inserted appropriately. “Real Shocks,” originally by Swell Maps, is a great speedy double-time dub, all hi-hat and tom rolls, over a very Wobbly bassline.
Yet the REAL real shocks are still to come, as “Confessions” canters in on a very Throbbing beat, declaring, “Jesus was a cocksucking Jew from Gallilee. Jesus was just like me—a homosexual nymphomaniac.” After a short handclap breakdown, our hero encounters a nice man in a shit-brown Cadillac to whom he “just couldn’t figure out how to say ‘No’”. The song then veers from a subtly dropped house break to a harrowing repetition of the introductory mantra (enhanced by some serious squeals) back to the same break completed with one phrase of muted diva vocalese.
“Homo-Sexual” follows with hammering rhythms and some abrasive vocodored falsetto. While hearing “up the ass” rhymed with “Darby Crash” is amusing, the song is nowhere near as twisted or entertaining as “Confessions”. Only the snippet of winding-down music-box rendition of Carol Channing’s “Lookin’ Back” softens the album’s abrupt termination: “It’s nice lookin’ back, lookin’ back, on the past…”
It’s a highly idiosyncratic album that very few will appreciate every facet of. However, even with a very minimal knowledge of the source material, there’s much to love. The lesser moments further the thematic unity, much like the skits you’d prefer to edit out of your hip-hop favorites. But even if it’s as uneven, it does come recommended—the package alone, linking up many of the in-jokes, is worth the cash.
Reviewed by: Dan Miron
Reviewed on: 2005-01-14