The Songs We Can't Escape

Essie Jain
Shervin Lainez

"Dog Religion"

No-fi, washed-out shove-punk that might as well have been recorded into the producer's answering machine through a pipe; think early Misfits, only noisier, more sonically infested. Times New Viking, eat your relatively decently mastered hearts out!

"Do It"

This is as animated as Jain's prim, composed, piano-recital-ish TheInbetween gets. How would she react if somebody cobbled together a video of Starsky & Hutch clips where Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson repeat the title, over and over, while incognito as mafia heavies?

"Drivin' Down the Block"

Yet another aspiring entry in the would-be summer jam sweepstakes that doesn't accomplish much more than making listeners' eyes glaze over. To wit: "Girls fantasize 'bout havin' labor pains/Cuz they see my ride and they thinkin' that I make it rain."

"When I Grow Up"

They're baaaaaack. The Dolls' performance of this song on So You Think You Can Dance was an unmitigated disaster, but I figured the studio version would kick toned, half-exposed she-butt; I was sadly mistaken. This is sort a distillation of everything that's wrong with pop right now.

"Private Amber"

Crack the floodgates of memory just an inch, and all sorts of musty pathos comes rushing through with the forgotten good vibes, stepping all over whatever mood you're in at present. That's the experience this insular 4-track strummer—which seems to turn more crushing and bummerish with every passing second—captures: that surreal sense of the immediate paling, shriveling, and melting in the face of the remote. "The night feels distant, cold/A bad memory of old friends is limp in my brain, and I can't get those/Whores out," Katherine Plummer laments, and we can sympathize, all too well.

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