Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! - Fixin’ The Charts, Vol.1

It’s only a small step towards a fix, but it’s a start.

Before we start there’s two points. ‘Number One: Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now!’ Is a collaboration between Eddie Argos from Art Brut and Dyan Valdés of The Blood Arm that focuses on recording responses to pop songs. Number Two: despite Eddie’s vocal aversion to britpop there’s a response to Elastica’s ‘Vaseline’ (called ‘Superglue’) that seems so lovingly done it even manages to reference ‘Line Up’ along the way. Anyway, onto the main point…

In a nutshell ‘Fixin’ The Charts’ can be summed up by the single ‘G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N. (You Know I’ve Got A)’ which takes the view of the target from Avril Lavigne’s similarly titled hit and lambastes her for her stalker ways. “I’m very in love with someone else / We’ve got concerns about your mental health”. Sure some of Eddie’s rhymes are a little clumsy or predictable, but that’s all part of the fun. Fear not, when the concept is taken out of the equation the songs are still strong enough to be enjoyed on their own and out of the context of the album.

Although the songs on ‘Fixin’ The Charts’ are written in character (Jimmy Mack turns up to respond to Martha Reeves proposed infidelity on ‘Hey, It’s Jimmy Mack’) some would fit lyrically on an Art Brut record and bear little resemblance to the hit to which they are responding. ‘Coal Digger’ may be one of the better songs present but is a prime example of this. This track tells the tale of a musician working part-time in low-level blue-collar jobs whilst attempting to ‘make it’. It could easily be the follow up to ‘Summer Job’ from ‘Art Brut Vs Satan’ and is as far removed from Kanye West’s ‘Gold Digger’ as reasonably possible.

Musically the disparate styles of the original hits are referenced although never are they directly copied. This keeps EWITFR…N! from veering into ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic territory and allows them to have an identity of their own. This comes not only from Eddie Argos’ distinctive vocals (because if that were so it would just be Art Brut, right?) but from the piano and backing vocals supplied by Dyan. These merge nicely into the Spektor pastiche of ‘He’s A “Rebel”’ (sample lyric: “He read in Vice he should wear those clothes / He’s not a rebel, it’s just a pose”) and keep ‘Billie’s Genes’ (have a guess at what that’s a response to) in line with the rest of the album despite the disco guitars and snippets of brass.

A replacement for an Art Brut record (or a new Blood Arm release: for which we’ve been waiting for quite a while now) this isn’t, but then again it was never supposed to be. Eddie has always had is fingers in many pies (The Black Arts and Glam Chops for instance) and this shouldn’t disappoint his fans one bit, providing they know what to expect. Quirky art-pop, ok?

So, does it fix the charts then? Well quite obviously they’re still full of utter rubbish but at the very least the twelve hits that have been responded to here will never sound the same again. There Eddie and Dyan have succeeded. Further than that, the next time we hear such similar pop songs we’ll think about the poor sap on the receiving end too. It’s only a small step towards a fix, but it’s a start.

Tags: Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now!, Reviews, Album Reviews

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