“NASCAR! BAD BOYS! BUD LIGHT! HOOTERS!:” Average Men Need Not Apply…


Pansy Division
That’s So Gay
Alternative Tentacles
Releases: 3.31.09

Rating: 5.5 out of 10

The first lines you hear are these:

“He’s in his PJs/Giving BJs/To the DJs/Who play what he likes…”

…and it’s exactly what you’d expect from an album entitled, That’s So Gay.

The sixth album to emerge from San Franciscan Queercore pioneers Pansy Division, That’s So Gay’s giveaway of a title is meant to ironically disparage the usage of the word “gay” as a euphemism for “lame,” “stupid…” etc. The title track attempts to make a serious case (“I heard what you said/I'm not stupid you know/What do you take me for?/Hetero?...”) while not being THAT serious (”I’ll show you what it’s like to be gay”). Thusly, you have the plot.

With poppy punk-infused rock n’ roll sort of gallivanting about its 14 sung treatises on promiscuity (“Twinkie Twinkie Little Star”), sex (“Ride Baby,” “Dirty Young Man”), attached prostitution (“It’s Just A Job”) and the celebratory battle cry of self (“20 Years Of Cock”), That’s So Gay emerges in the face of Prop 8 and a public that still considers homosexuality an abnormality unfit to prosper and persevere with any sort of equality in the new millennium.

Studio clip of “Twinkie Twinkie Little Star”

As unapologetic a title as this is Pansy Division doesn’t really take much of an opportunity to discuss how much the world HASN’T evolved. Instead, they focus on softer targets with “Average Men” (ex-Dead Kennedy Jello Biafra making an appearance), the typically homophobic outlook/homoerotic ritualism of athletes in “Pat Me On The Ass,” and the unintentionally amusing observations of token straight guy (and former Mr. T Experience bassist) Joel Reader for “Some Of My Best Friends:” “I may not be gay but/I know this much is true/I’d rather fuck an asshole/Then be one just like you.”

Deep? Yeah, not really.

Despite its couple attempts at being sentimental (“You’ll See Them Again”) and heartfelt (“Life Lovers”), That’s So Gay is mostly elementary in its wisdom and generic in its performance, a couple exceptions being its inspired juxtaposition of country-infused rockabilly for “Pat Me On The Ass” (“Playin’ high school football/Really is a gas/I hope we win so all my buddies can pat me on the ass…WHOOO!”) and its decent slow rocking groove with “Obsessed With Me.”

Otherwise, That’s So Gay feels musically lightweight, dependent solely upon its subject matter to generate reaction which, considering their timing, probably could’ve been a little more important.

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead
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