Support us with Kachingle!
July 17, 2008 | 12:00 a.m. CST
I have to come clean. When I first sat down with the new CSS album, Donkey, I was biased. Their first album, Cansei De Ser Sexy, has been stuck in my head and showing up on my mix tapes since 2006, so I was completely ready to give their new work a shining review. Then I listened to it. This forgettable, radio-ready attempt at a follow-up has let me down, and nothing makes you want to bash an album like disappointment.
It starts off decently. Bands always put their catchiest songs first. “Jager Yoga” has a driving drumbeat and a nice balance of guitar and synthesizer. The lyrics are lame (“We didn’t come into the world to walk around / We came here to take you out”), but lead singer Lovefoxxx’s cute Brazilian accent makes up for it.
On the second track, “Rat is Dead (Rage),” CSS sound more like the guitar-heavy Noisettes than their usual dance-inducing selves. The song isn’t bad, I like the distorted riffs ... but it just doesn’t make me want to shake my booty. Where is the defiant, hyper-energetic, endearingly weird CSS I love? Not here.
Things go from bad to worse. “Let’s Reggae All Night” is unbearable. The synthesizers sound choppy and shrill, the same three guitar chords are repeated over and over, and the chorus is boring. “Give Up” and “Left Behind” are nothing special. They sound like pop radio. “Beautiful Song” is an ’80s throwback straight from The Go-Go’s repertoire; it’s fun but far from beautiful. Bitterness is distorting my ability to write a clear-headed review.
The next couple of songs are mediocre, mid-tempo dance-pop. They don’t inspire love, hate or any feeling at all. The album picks up steam toward the end with the bouncy “I Fly,” and “Believe Achieve” gets me humming under my breath, despite more pathetic lyrics. But it’s too late. CSS, your fans loved your shocking, self-deprecating lyrics and utterly danceable electronic beats. Now you’re just another Top-40 wannabe.
VVVVV – Bargain-bin bound