We are all French, now.

Simon Reynolds explains the ominous parallels at the blissblog:

We Are All French Today. The Strokes new single: It was on the tip of my tongue and the wife pipped me to the post–“this sounds like if Daft Punk made a rock record”. Marital telepathy or objective truth? It’s no secret that France has a bit of a chequered history with la musique roque. There tends to be this twice-removed, distanced aura to that nation’s guitarband output. It can be enjoyable for precisely that quality: Plastic Bertrand “Ca Plane Pour Moi” (he was Belgian though right? apparently he didn’t even sing on his own records, sez Malcolm McLaren, admiringly), Les Ritas Mitsoukos (not sure ‘bout the spelling) on their one great track whose title escapes me (sounded very T.Rexy though), even things like Metal Urbain (check their great new reissue Anarchy In Paris!, Acute’s best yet) and Les Thugs. And of course Daft Punk took that nonreal vibe and turned it into a positive aesthetic strength. The new Strokes has that artificiel quality–not as in fake, inauthentic, bogus, so much as made out of some ersatz substance that resembles but isn’t real-deal rock. There’s a plasticized glazed gloss to the record, a deep unrocking stiltedness. It’s particular the case with that track which more than any Strokes tune seems plotted out on graph paper, and is delivered in unusually desultory and remote-control mode. But maybe that degree of twice-removed and hyper-selfconsciousness is our common condition today, maybe it’s impossible for anyone anywhere to rock in that basic pure from-the-gut unreflecting scare-quote-free way that was available to James Gang or AC/DC or whoever. (Look at the Darkness or Andrew W.K., where for all their intent to rock, their straight faces… well, let’s just say I’m not convinced). Maybe we are all French today.

10 thoughts on “We are all French, now.”

  1. Incidentally, I’d like to open up this thread to a No Treason! contest. The best short North/Gillette “slash” fiction will win an unspecified prize, with bonus awards for the best use of the words “hanky pull”, “thumb tip”. “James Randi” and “throbbing wand.” I won’t actually read any of the entries myself, of course, but I believe that our own Stefan is best qualified to pick the winning entry.

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