It seems Scouting For Girls have seen the film ‘The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’ since releasing their second LP.
I know what you thinking: what on earth might prompt this remark? Well all those who’ve seen the film will know that Benjamin Button was born an old man, and grew younger; wise old man who gradually became more juvenile and less intelligent as he grew younger. How frustrating that must be; people seeing you as a mature man who becomes immature, rather than the ‘normal’ other way around. It’s confusing when you see artists do this too – when they turn from grown-up, experienced musicians into hyperactive, hard-to-take-seriously musicians, (particularly if the transition is over the space of one single release) you’re left wondering what the hell just happened as well being presented with a decision – are you going to be loyal and adore the particular musicians’ sound? Or completely abandon them because it’s just too unbearable?
So let’s take a look at such a musical equivalent to the poor Mr. Button shall we? Oh look! It just so happens the heterosexual, pop/rock version of the Scissor Sisters just released a new single! It’s called ‘Famous’, and is a lampoon towards fake celebrity and over-exposure of talentless tabloid whores. That’s quite a challenging subject – so much to say in so little time, and I’m guessing you need to be very grown-up about it, so as not to come off as unprofessional. I’m expecting this song to have a very grown up sound, and be at least four minutes long.
Clocking in at little over two-and-a-half minutes, this song clearly isn’t the kind of song I was expecting considering the message of the song, maybe I should’ve considered the artist? Scouting For Girls certainly aren’t renowned for their grown-up, mature lyrics but after ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’ there was at least a glimmer of light, right? Right…?
Alas, the first thing you notice about ‘Famous’ is how much of a step back to the sound that drove us mad on their first album. Yep, that’s right – no more sweeping strings and a slow, mid-tempo balladry that made ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’ such a brilliant step forward, instead ‘Famous’ is an energetic, relentless little ditty with all the sensitivity of a child on a bag of Haribo.
They’ve shown us their new, mature selves have now returned to the playful, slightly irritating and immature old selves. Woop.
Introduced with an electric piano riff, Roy’s distinctive vocals then croon through a vocoder some of the most ridiculous lyrics of any Scouting For Girls record – and that’s saying something, I think you’ll agree. The pace of the song feels very rushed as the chorus is thrown at you at only about 20 seconds in. It’s an odd chorus; without the camp, falsetto “Woo-Hoo”s this chorus would appear quite flacid and would do about as much good as a bout of pubic lice. That said, it’s the “Woo-Hoo”s that will send you up the wall, along the ceiling, down the other side, into the fish-tank, and through the floor whilst listening to it accompanying the typical Scouting For Girls production.
As for the lyrics, Roy is singing them from the perspective of a deadly honest but very shallow person who only craves the fame and doesn’t care how they get it, as long as they become famous. Unfortunately, the lyrics quite frankly some of the worst I’ve ever heard – “Forget Audrey Hepburn/Forget Betty Davis/I wanna be known/Just for being famous”, excuse me while I cringe. But occasionally a rather brilliant lyric wafts by – “I can’t act, I can’t dance/I can’t sing, can’t you see/But I’m young and I’m pretty/And that’s all that you need” (really sums up what the tabloids, Big Brother, other reality TV shows etc, etc, say and believe about fame), not that you can enjoy these singularities because a whole verse passes in about five seconds.
The middle eight however, it where the real music and lyricism starts (by which I mean it really begins to take the mickey out of fake celebrity culture). In fact it feels quite grand. The song’s bass beefs up, there are descending electric keyboards, and the lyrics are amongst the best you’ll find in the two-and-a-half minute track; deliriously funny and egotistical – “I wanna be the star tonight/Complain about fame as I pose for the boys in the nude“. Any song the lampoons Page 3 and the like is a winner for me. I added an extra star for that one lyric.
Which brings me back to the bad lyrics, which unfortunately riddle the last minute of the song – “Everybody wants to be on TV/Everybody wants to be like James Dean”. I’m sorry Scouting For Girls but James Dean was never over-exposed as a fame-seeking ‘celebrity’, so it’s baffling why Roy mentions him, because he had nothing to do with fake celebrity culture and the song kind of blackens his name. It’s almost as if… GOD FORBID, Roy only mentioned him for a pure and simple reason he needed someone to rhyme with ‘TV’. NO WAY!
For this I docked one star.
If you forgive the fact that towards the end it just becomes a whirlwind of un-structured hook-lines and a queasy production, you find that the song isn’t all that bad, though I imagine if you heard it overplayed on any radio it’ll madden you after three listens; it’s the cringe-worthy lyrics which detract from the positives this song provides, resulting in another horribly average pop tune from Scouting For Girls, despite it’s peculiarly charming 7-second intro.
Rating: 3.0 STARS
Download: July 19, 2010
Featured Album: ‘Everybody Wants To Be On TV’