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They Only Want You When You’re Seventeen March 26, 2003

Posted by worldspectacle in Uncategorized.

We're so beautiful it bores us senseless.
Ladytron: When you’re twenty-one, you’re no fun.

The next generation is upon us, and they are the Millennials.

Interestingly, they’re apparently the first generation to substantially differ in attitude on different sides of the Atlantic for some time. US Millennials are apparently highly civic-minded, and willing to serve their country. On the contrary: British Millennials are the most hedonistic and self-absorbed generation we have ever seen. Ennui and simple lotus-eater pleasure seeking are the order of the day; already Generation Xers are getting frustrated and shocked by the attitudes of the kids of today.

The best way to get the idea of a zeitgeist is generally through indie music. While chart pop music gives you an indication of what people like, the indie music of an era gives you an idea of what people are like. So in the 80s, we had the desperate working-class angst of the Smiths and, later on, the shambolic, hedonistic Madchester Sound, while in the 90s we had American Generation X demigods Nirvana, and, shortly after, Blur and Oasis, who reflected the lairy we-can-do-anything-cos-we’re-British Britpop mentality.

The current indie band du jour – in Britain, anyway – are chilly retrofuturistique androids Ladytron, the only winners from the short-lived dead-in-the-water-before-it-got-anywhere genre we called electroclash.

Ladytron’s small, elegantly designed site includes downloadable versions of their last two singles: the ice-cold cautionary tale Seventeen, whose robotically clear vocal line repeats the same four lines over and over and freezes the blood, revels in the sheer emptiness of it all; meanwhile the most recent single, Blue Jeans treads pretty much the same ground, albeit with a stomping, defiant teen anthem of a tune. They’re both excellent pieces of music, but it’s Blue Jeans that wins for me, being much easier to listen to on repeated occasions.

While Electroclash as a genre originated in new York, it seems strange that the only successful proponents of it are British (they’re from Liverpool), but no surprise that they are as far as I know mainly successful over here, given that they’re so much more in tune with what’s going on with the kids. As it were.

Having said that, they’ve been touring the States, so you never know – they might strike lucky.



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