[Full disclosure: I’m an avid Le Tigre fan]
After Le Tigre went on hiatus in 2007, there has been an empty void that was once filled by their dance/electronica music about feminism and left-wing social commentary. IT’S BEEN FOUR LONG YEARS but we now have something to come and fill that void! But can MEN, the brain project of Le Tigre member (and pencil moustache aficionado) JD Samson, completely fill the gaping hole that has lay dormant in our hearts? Or is it just less-than? Never as great as their parent band, to be cast to the shadows of music history?
While listening to MEN’s debut, Talk About Body, I did my very best to forget about the fact that it’s a side project of one of my favorite groups maybe ever. Yeah, how did that work out for me? Terribly. The album features much of the same in-your-face beats and caustic lyrics about modern-day society. They even feature the repetitive choruses and penchant for pop music that we’re all used to. One might say that MEN’s greatest influence is probably Le Tigre.
While Talk About Body isn’t quite as strong as any Le Tigre album (depending, of course, on your opinions of This Island), it features a surprising number of great songs including the awesome “Credit Card Babies” (“I’m gonna fuck my best / I’m gonna fuck my best”), and lead single “Off Our Backs.” But it also isn’t bringing much new to the table. It’s 2011 now and this brand of angry, intelligent electro dance is sort of old hat. Sure, the lyrics are updated for the new decade, but the whole attempt sounds just like what you thought it would: a two-thirds of Le Tigre side project.
That’s not to say it’s a bad album, but Talk About Body just doesn’t quite fill that Le Tigre void enough. And of course it’s not fair of me to say MEN needs to fill a void left by another band. But if they’re going to make music so goddamn similar, I’m going to compare them to their predecessors. And I’m still going to listen to (and enjoy) Talk About Body every time I yearn for a little “Deceptacon” or “TKO.” And maybe after I get over the whole Le Tigre thing I’ll start yearning for “Credit Card Babies.” Just maybe.
MEN – “Off Our Backs” [MP3]