"Duh, stay out of Riverdale": Screw Rock 'n' Roll Top 69 Singles of 2006, No. 64
So I was looking through the Top 69 I have prepared (and will finally finish posting one of these days), and I realized that this track, which I intended to be a part of it, was completely missing. So that kind of fucks up the whole "Top 69" thing, but believe me, this was meant to be at #64, which in reality makes the thing a Top 70. But I can't be assed shuffling the posts and numbers around, so we'll just have a special post acknowledging it, and the rest of y'all can mentally shuffle it into place between Jim Jones and Beyoncé. OK? We good? Good.
Now, despite my posturing to the contrary, I'm not some kind of teen pop expert, but I've slowly and unwillingly been won over by the Veronicas. Not that I'm completely in love with them - outside the singles, there's not much to enjoy on their album - but the fact that I'm even being guardedly postive about them should be considered a win for these Brisbane girls. I first heard about them when the Sun Herald had this big, hyperbolic story back in 2005 about the Aussie twins set to make it big in the United States (there's nothing that gives the Australian entertainment media a bigger hard-on then when Americans pay attention to us), and I predicted that this was media hype and that th Veronicas wouldn't end up doing shit. Well, I was half right; looking at chart figures, Lisa and Jessica Origliasso are still unknowns in the U.S., but in Australia, they're bona fide stars. Their first two singles were OK; "4Ever" had a great chorus but irritating verses, while "Everything I'm Not" had great verses, and (I eventually had to admit) quite a good chorus. "When It All Falls Apart" is the one song of theirs I've heard where it truly does all come together (ironically?), and it's something I never get sick of hearing.
And what I find fascinating about it is that while the Veronicas are clearly teen-pop, "When It All Falls Apart" steps into territory you don't really hear in that genre, and maybe, just maybe, we can put that down to their Australian roots. One thing I find curiously delightful about The Veronicas is that they are quite clearly what folks round my parts call "Westies" and what folks round other parts of the country might call "Bogans." Roughly translated, that's Australian for "trailer trash." I once saw them interviewed on Rove, an Australian night time talk show, and trust me: The Veronicas may be squeaky clean pop stars, but classy broads they most certainly are not.
And that's why the lyrics of "When It All Falls Apart" make complete sense. "I'm having the day from hell," they sing, which is not unusual for teen pop stars; Avril says pretty much the same thing on "Runaway" from her new album. But then later: "And not to mention (I drank too much)/I'm feeling hung over (and out of touch)"... are these the only teen pop stars to mention drinking in their lyrics?
Of course, it makes complete sense. The Veronicas were just shy of 21 when The Secret Life Of..., their debut, was released, and since the legal drinking age in Australia is 18 (and because they're westies ;) ), I think it's safe to say they've had a hangover or two in their past. But actual age doesn't seem to matter in teen pop; when Britney Spears was almost 20, she was releasing singles like "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman," to which the proper response is only, "Holy shit Britney, look at your drivers license! You're a motherfucking adult!" Not yet a woman, what the fuck? Now is not the time to be talking about the infantilization of female pop stars, but you don't think there was just a hint of that going on there? Here's a hint: Pac released 2Pacalypse Now at roughly the same age. "Not Yet a Woman?" Please.
So, no, I don't think it's entirely a problem for pop stars to play themselves as younger or more immature than they actually are; since the beginning of time rock stars have basically tried to make themselves as close to 18 years old as possible, whether literally or lyrically, rappers are constantly trying to stave off old age, and interestingly, country singers generally try to pitch themselves as older. But it's nice to hear The Veronicas, just this once, sing a catchy teen pop song about something they're quite possible doing now. (And let's be straight: a lot of teenagers aren't going to be unfamilar with hangovers either).
Labels: Top 69 Singles 2006