Album Review: Everybody Was in the French Resistance…Now!!! – Fixing The Charts Volume 1

by Tony Butterworth on February 1, 2010

Every now and then you encounter something so weird and wonderful that you have to write about it.  Today I’m reviewing an album that it’s hard to really classify as “good” but it’s just a joy to listen to.

Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now!!! is Eddie Argos from Art Brut and Dyan Valdés from The Blood Arm. This is album of response songs, humorous, often speak-sung responses to well known tracks.  To quote an analysis I read on www.allsounds.com:

“Avril Lavigne is a bitch. When she’s not gloating about her totally undeserved success or berating and sneering at young mothers, she is attempting to steal men from loving happy relationships.” and Everybody Was In….  attempts to fix this and a number of other pop injustices.

The first song is a kind of theme song for the band called “Creeque Allies” and it’s a response to “Creeque Alley” by the Mamas and the Papas, resetting the band formation song as an early 40’s formation of the WW2 resistance.  What else can I really say.  “G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N (You Know I’ve Got A)” is the aforementioned Avril response.  Basically written from the perspective of the guy with the message, “how many times do I have to tell you I’ve already got a girlfriend.”  It’s got some classic stuff, “if you think this is attractive then I’m sorry you’re deluded” is my favorite line.

“(I’m So) Waldo P. Emerson Jones”   This one is a response to “Waldo P. Emerson Jones” made famous by the Archies, not a song I am familiar with but the story there was that Walso was a new kid on the block and the guys couldn’t figure him out. In this version the singer is Waldo and is, lets say, rather full of himself.  Next is “The Scarborough Affaire” clearly a response to the traditional (aka Simon and Garfunkel) tune. After asking his lover to complete his extreme demands she gets kind of fed up.  It’s so hard to capture this in words, just give it a listen.

“Billie’s Genes” is a great tune but perhaps lyrically the most predictable, yes the kid is his son. “Think Twice (It’s Not Alright)” is a response to Dylan tune that removes the word “Don’t” and adds “not” to the original title.  Instead of being tough like Bob after a breakup, some people get annoyed and angry.

“Hey It’s Jimmy Mack” is probably the funniest track on the album.  You see Jimmy is the subject of the song “My Boyfriends Back” and he’s not happy with his treatment and to quote the lyrics, “if that’s your attitude, then I’m never coming back” and “I’ve not been gone that long, you definitely didn’t need to write a song”.  Finally “did you do this to make me jealous, singing songs about other fella’s”, and “He’s a “Rebel.” The original song was an ode to dangerous men, the response here is to point out that he’s not really a rebel, more of a poseur.

“Coal Digger” is a fantastic answer to Kanye’s “Gold Digger”. Kanye picks on the working man, where here the working man is just paying the bills until he has a hit record.  My favorite line is “it may look like I’m lying in bed, but really I’m writing songs in my head”.  This song has such a rousing chorus you can’t help but smile.  “My Way (is Not Always The Best Way)” is another fairly obvious one.  The advice here is basically to listen to others and do what they suggest – “let’s have a vote and come to a consensus.”

“Superglue”  is a response to Elastica’s “Vaseline”,  in summary, if Superglue had been used things would have stuck.  The album ends with another top song “Walk Alone” as a response to Gerry and The Pacemakers “Never Walk Alone” (the anthem of the despised Liverpool football club I should add).  As expected, the message is that it’s OK to be on your own.

The songs are poppy, fast paced, Motown-ish, featuring close to spoken lyrics (you just have to listen to understand them) and some great female backing singers.  It’s hard these days to find music that really makes you smile and comes completely out of left field, but it happened here.  Make sure and check out Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now!!! – Fixing The Charts Volume 1 as soon as you can.

Hear and watch “G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N (You Know I’ve Got A)”

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