D-D-Don’t Don’t Stop the Beat
t’s now nearly one-thirty in the morning and I am finished with this fucking Junior Senior album. Shit, I can’t think of a record that’s caused me so much frustration—I’ve written almost three different takes of this album, tried to analyse it through about twenty-five listens, attempting to quantify why it’s so good. Gone from hating to loving to hating to merely enjoying it in the process.
To try and explain why this is record is better than any other dance record will ultimately fail, and while I’m failing I’ll try and resist using “I” in this review despite the fact that it’s been dropped half-a-dozen times already, not just because it’s self-indulgent, but because this record isn’t about me. This isn’t a one-thirty album, alone in your room. I can’t explain what makes D-D-Don’t Stop The Beat special. Fuck, it isn’t special, it’s an album that just... well, it just makes me feel like singing and dancing, but not like the Dismemberment Plan or The Exploding Hearts or The Rapture do; no. This is a different thing, it’s “Shut the fuck up! Dance!” As simple as that.
“Move Your Feet”, the lead-off single, is a complete red herring, a disco track that doesn’t belong among the wash of, well, Swedish garage rock that makes up the rest of the album. That the track is easily the album’s best, but doesn’t make everything else seem bad, is a testament to its charm. “Just keep on dancing now / the party’s just begun / blah blah shit shit dancing,” and so it goes. “All dressed up / and dressed to kill!” “Shake Your Coconuts” is a wild, self-indulgent shuffle-and-jive, a dance beat lifted straight from 1963.
There’s cowbell on half the tracks. Sweet, bubblegum backing vocals, handclaps, snare claps, and faux-scuzzy garage guitar abound. Sure, I’ve heard this shit about three hundred times before. But have I heard a burly gay Dane named Senior face off with a small, sensitive, sweet, straight Dane named Junior in a track entitled "Chicks and Dicks" before? No. But is that the point of the album? To bring garage rock a new twist—embrace the camp! Embrace liner notes where the little dude is perched on the shoulders of a guy who looks like the Village People’s biker, with confetti everywhere? Of course they smack you on the head with these overt homosexual tones. Great. But perhaps the charm is that it’s a gimmick that’s almost completely forgotten, a factor that doesn’t matter.
It could be a gimmick to try to infiltrate the retro aesthetic that’s buzzing right now—Back in the day, rock and roll was dirty! Being flamboyant is dirty! Shit! They’re rock and roll rebels, babe! But it isn’t that. These lyrics are flamboyant and ridiculous and I could probably sing the next line on spot without ever hearing it—but I’m lost. I’m lost in this review, and lost in this album. I know that these ridiculous lyrics have no sexual orientation, they’re just ridiculous cries for fun, and it’s liberating (just like coming out? Maybe). But at this point, it’s irrelevant. Multitracked vocals and “woo! woo!”s make you forget everything. Thank God it does here, or I’d be back where I started, desperately trying to go over every shrewdly planned second of this slick retro-pop machine.
All the songs sound almost exactly the same. I don’t care! It doesn’t matter! Just dance! This album is critic-proof. It’s bewildering in its own exuberance, to the point where it becomes hard to write an actual “review” per se. Witness the previous six hundred and fifty words of gibber. Just let go. Just dance with your girl (or boy), then go off somewhere and fuck. Junior would be proud. That’s what it’s about.
Reviewed by: Sam Bloch
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01