"Moving to L.A." / Art Brut
Here's a sharp little number from a British band I know next to nothing about, but they certainly give me hope for the future of rock and roll. Put together a bouncy pop beat, some nice Beatle-y guitar riffs, and a lead singer who half-talks the lyrics in a broad Cockney accent (shades of Ian Dury, or Damon Albarn in "Park Life") and you've got a song that couldn't be more BritPop -- so of course it's about the United States. Or rather, a knee-jerk English fantasy about the United States; it's just too snarky-funny for these guys to be taking it seriously.
"There's not much glamour about the English weather," the singer starts -- fair enough (and of course I think of the Beatles' "sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun"). But that gloomy weather's enough to inspire this guy to move away, as he brightly announces: "I think I've got it sorted / I'm going to get myself deported." Which, considering that he sounds like a right Essex git, makes no sense -- how can he be deported out of England? But somehow I don't think we're dealing with a clear thinker here.
"I'm considering a move to L.A." he announces brashly, then repeats it three more times, with his mates echoing the lines in a warbly falsetto. There's your chorus. And then he goes on to fantasize about that SoCal lifestyle, where he'll be hanging around with Axl Rose and "drinking Hennessey / With Morissey." For that line alone I love this song.
"Everything is gonna be just fine / I hear the murder rate is in decline," this incurable optimist declares. He goes off in a rambling monologue in the bridge about taking off his shirt, riding a Harley down the Strip, getting a tattoo -- sure, that could happen. "My problems are never going to find me, I'm not sending even one postcard home." Yeah, okay, love ya miss ya bye.
It's like the Blur song, "Magic America" -- that popular image of the States seems so perfect, that it almost doesn't matter whether it has any basis in reality. It's like that character in Love Actually, the skinny toothy goofball who keeps saying he's going to America because the women all look like models and they'll sleep with him just because of his accent. When it actually happens, that's the joke.
I remember having this same kind of fatuous fantasy about London, back in the Sixities. I suppose I knew it couldn't be true, but it was awfully delicious. Nowadays, I suppose, any British youngster with sense despises the United States, given the mess our leaders have made of things -- but drinking Hennessey with Morissey...well, that would still a trip, wouldn't it?
Moving to L.A. sample