I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t like punk rock. Maybe that’s not the best thing to say, maybe that kills my indie cred, but it’s the truth. And honestly, I’ve tried. I really have. But I’d just rather listen to spooky post-rock instrumentals and fey singer-songwriters than any noisy 3-chord, angst-ridden, pseudo-political tunes. Unfortunately, that’s just what I got Micro.Paillettes. Actually, now that I think about it, I think I got even less.
Oh, to be sure, Prettypony seem to have a better sense of humor than most punk groups, who often seem to be mired in either overly-preachy histrionics or juvenile fart jokes (the Blink-182 syndrome). But it’s still wrapped up in snotty vocals (male and female), noisy guitars, drums so sharp they hurt your ears, and a lo-fi sense of production that’s reminiscent of a good AM radio. Every song is short and to the point, which is good I guess, but every song says the same thing in the exact same way. By the end of the album, I can’t tell if I was listening to 13 distinct tracks or if my CD player had been stuck on track 3. Was I listening to “Hate By #s” or “Glamourpussy”? Who knows? I just know the CD is over, and I can get back to my normal diet of squiggly electronica and dour indie-pop.
And what might they be singing about? Well, a substantial number of songs are about sex. But for every song laced with feminist or queer-influenced rhetoric (“Sea Urchin Tuff Guy (Gizmo’s Choice)”), there’s songs about masturbation (“White Mystery”) and porn (“Porno.Cam”). But how seriously should I take them? Are lyrics like “Genital contact keeps me intact/Genital contact psyche intact” about sexual empowerment, or are they just an ode to jerking off? And for all of it’s punk energy, a powderkeg like “Sea Urchin Tuff Guy (Gizmo’s Choice)” is just about a guy who doesn’t know how to treat his gal. “Puzzle Fighter” consists of a mishmash of technobabble, with lines like “Psionic neurotic technotronic whore/Jack in jack out and give me more.”
Unfortunately, I just don’t care about what Prettypony is saying. Their lyrics are boiled down to phrases that the kids can shout at a concert. But making lyrics that sing-along also mean there’s very little room for anything novel or interesting to be said. And it doesn’t help when I don’t know if they’re serious or not. How can I respect Prettypony’s cries for acceptance and sexual respect (if that’s what they are) when they write a song like “Our Miss Brooks,” which is about a teacher and her sexual trysts with a 4th grader. It’s enough to make Jerry Springer blush.
But maybe it’s all a joke. Maybe it’s not supposed to be taken seriously. Maybe they’re making a point. Maybe maybe maybe… too many maybes. If all that was the case, then they’re the only ones who get it. If it’s supposed to be a statement, then the meaning behind the sexual debauchery, Neuromancer-esque technospeak, and pseudo-political words got lost somewhere in all those singalong choruses, choppy verses, and all-too-similar melodies.