I listened to Elastica’s debut album for the first time in ages the other day as well as the single to “Stutter” for no real reason other than I like the BBC recording of “Annie” better than the album version.
It all brought me back to those halcyon days of the mid-90’s when people like myself could smugly declare “We won!” in a premature attempt to collectively pat ourselves on the back at the thought that we had finally converted punk rock/post-punk rock as the norm.
What a complete crock of shit.
Looking back now, as we wipe off the circle jerk of Nevermind reissues and the “vitology” of Pearl Jam, it seems almost embarrassing to think that a few slack-jawed flannel wearers could even believe that they’d be able to topple the might of the recording industry and their power in transferring subversive music into viable commodity.
There I was, right in the middle of an ode to impotence considering the impotence of my naïve youth. What started out as a revolution turned into flock of farm league also-rans, who in turn, transformed even the Double A entries into chart toppers.
I think of all of those rugrats that I’ll have to explain Daughtry, and even though I’ve been told that I should ignore bands like Nickelback, I still think I should apologize for them too. This is not what we intended, and it makes even the most derivative of bands like Elastica seem utterly original in their faux art reprise.
Immediately, I want to transfer a copy of Elastica into the zzZunes of those younger kids to get them on the right track. I want them to take it all in and then immediately give them the keys to Wire’s Pink Flag and The Fall’s Perverted By Language just to jack up the sales totals to a more reasonable figure.
I want them to realize the critical importance of those efforts because they were so overlooked when they were first released.
As far as Elastica is concerned, I can tell you that the eye-opening moment for me wasn’t how they up and nicked those aforementioned underground heroes, but how they finally expressed an opposite sex response to a topic that we all try to “keep between the sheets.”
“Is it something you lack/When I’m flat on my back/Is there something that I could do for you?” Justine Frischmann sarcastically snaps, questioning why her partner seems to have difficulty achieving what should be the most basic of reactions from her suitor.
Not to make excuses-which is what “Stutter” is, a litany of plausible excuses for her man’s failure to launch-but it is an event that every man faces at some point in their life. Guilt, intimidation, and an fear are all part of the shit running through a young man’s head, as are the ways in which we compensate for those things.
Growing up, men would casually refer to things like “whiskey dick” in an off-handed excuse, and when cocaine entered the mix, you never experienced the level of desire that drug provided while having to navigate how useless your sex organ was while under the influence of it. You ended up a sweaty, flaccid wreck trying not to look your partner in the eye while trying to get the thing to match wits with your desire.
You may have pondered what that partner was thinking, and “Stutter” confirms all of your worst fears.