Elevate Difference

Things Are Getting Sinister and Sinisterer

This is perhaps the ultimate postmodern album of the year. Edie Sedgwick—not to be confused with the Warhol muse (or maybe you are supposed to conflate the band and the woman)—records loud, jangly, post-punk melodies, and on Things Are Getting Sinister and Sinisterer, every track is named after a person or film, from Bambi to Rob Lowe to ODB (rest his soul). On some tracks, it becomes difficult to decide whether front man Justin Moyer feels he is speaking about these people or channeling them. Despite the genius in these songs—and the album as a whole—the most interesting commentary is found in the tunes about some of pop culture’s reigning women.

Mary-Kate Olsen, whose name is the title of the album’s third track, is told – or tells us – that she needs “A lesson in control/A lesson in being thin/Don’t eat/Then repeat.” Numbers are then chanted in repetition, and it doesn’t take long to understand this as representing the diminutive starlet’s weight dropping as the verse progresses. The song takes aim at the media as well, but is it really effective to take on eating disorders by calling out Mary-Kate? Or is the joke on us for thinking celebrity media is ever about authenticity, a place to discuss substantial issues? The song feels tasteless on some level, yet that could simply be a matter of feminist opinion and how you choose to analyze these things.

Similar to MK, Angelina Jolie is called out on her family strategy: “Thinking about a baby/Working on a baby/Let’s go get a baby/Black baby.” After calling it a “bourgeoisie lottery” and wondering about “the line between good works and publicity,” I sat with my jaw near my lap, bewildered and amused that someone bothered to make a song about Jolie’s absurd wild-woman-turned-saint transition. Maybe I should be horrified by this irreverent attack on what some view as Jolie bringing necessary awareness to the plight of poor children, but I’m no Jolie fan, and I’m trying to live in a society where we don’t take ourselves too seriously, something I’ve never been personally good at. This song may be harsh, but it fits my cynical worldview.

After a while, the album’s formula does get a bit predictable and feels overextended. If you pay no attention to pop culture, you probably won’t understand the name-drops, but if you are tuned into the world of “Hollyweird,” listen for cop references, questions about whatever happened to the Brat Pack, and about how Sissy Spacek is “Gonna sing about what I’m about/Gonna be about what I’m about.” Things Are Getting Sinister and Sinisterer will make you laugh or dance, or if you’re lucky, both at once.

Written by: Brittany Shoot, November 25th 2008

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