Okay. My friend Zac, knowing I would take the bait, dared me to review the song “Leotard Stories” by the Atlanta group La Chansons (which is roughly French for “The Songs”). I don’t know if Zac likes this song, but he probably knew that I wouldn’t. Incidentally, if you want to dare me to review songs or albums, feel free – if you supply a healthy dose of booze, it will exponentially increase the odds that I will take your dare, no matter how much it might hurt me.
My first impression of “Leotard Stories” is that it makes me miss “Blue Jeans,” the only Ladytron song that I like. My second impression is that La Chansons traffic in some sort of bullshit, ironic “I Love the 80s” style of synth rock that gets more infuriating the more I think about it. If you take a moment to examine the album art for the La Chansons record, you’ll notice husband and wife duo Greg and Carson Keller are decked out in their finest 80s style (although Greg looks a little like he’s about to go deer hunting after the photo shoot) and the song is, of course, an ode to the leotard, that staple of every workout your mom did before you came along and screwed it all up for her. As far as I can tell, “Leotard Stories” boils down to a way to say absolutely nothing over a lazy, sparkling beat. I presume the intention here is to get the listener to giggle and coo about how it’s so funny that La Chansons did a song about leotards. But it’s not funny, it’s fucking stupid. And if you try to convince me that this song is a comment on how meaningless dance music was in the 80s, I will fight you to the death, assuming my eyes recover from the strain of rolling so hard that blood trickles out of my tear ducts.
The reason LCD Soundsystem obliterates every other dance-rocky/synthy/electronic group out there is because James Murphy doesn’t just talk about absurd shit over lazy beats. Murphy isn’t afraid to talk about big kid stuff with his audience instead of just spewing cutesy bullshit, which is what “Leotard Stories” is. I found a live track of La Chansons on the YouTubes (I won’t link to it because I love you too much) and it was a song called “Sparklin'”, about roller-disco. Because that matters to today’s listeners, am I right?
But it does suggest that I have to face a somewhat less irritating possibility here: what if the Kellers really do love the 80s that much (I really don’t get why anyone, apart from now retired coke dealers, has much love for the 80s. To quote the Hold Steady, “The 80s almost killed me/ let’s not recall them quite so fondly”)? What if the cutesy nonsense of “Leotard Stories” is a sincere attempt on the part of La Chansons to pay homage to a garment no one in their right mind has worn since 1987? The other reason I’m having this thought right now is because I clicked on a link to Carson Keller’s art on the band’s website. One of the paintings is called “I Can Do Anything” and it’s a painting of a Barbie and the background is fucking glitter! I’m not really sure how to handle this. It gives me the feeling that there is a pile of dead unicorns (or horses with paper towel tubes stapled to their heads) in the Kellers’ garage and yet that feeling is still more bearable than the thought that La Chansons are some kind of ironic joke band. Irony has become the first refuge of scoundrels in today’s music and I’d prefer to think just about anything about a band other than thinking that they’re constantly being ironic.
Either way, when you get down to the music, this song still blows. Technology has blessed us and cursed us, fellow music fans: the good news is that any asshole with a few bucks can make an album, which has made it easier to hear music from people you might otherwise never get to hear. The bad news is that any asshole with a few bucks can make an album, making it easier to hear music from people you would never want to hear in a million years. “Leotard Stories” sounds like someone stopped reading the manual for their Casio keyboard about halfway through and lyrically… well, it’s better to ignore this song lyrically. Carson Keller rattles off some colors of leotard that she likes and calls the black leotard her “go-to girl.” If you know me at all, you can’t really expect me to do anything but hate this song and I do hate this song and now I’m going to go back to listening to songs that I don’t hate. Or maybe I’ll head over to E-Music and download “Blue Jeans.”