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  Imperial Teen  
Release Date:
  April 200  
Reviewed by:

I, Malimus, finally received internet recognition for my work here at EvilSponge dot Org. I found out like this:

PostLibyan: Hey, check out this link to your Weezer review!

Malimus: I ramble on incessantly and incoherently for some three odd years, spewing forth words unending like a frothy steamed milk topping to my bitter expresso soul and someone finally links to the 25 word review...?

PostLibyan: It's eSpresso, not eXpresso dammit! Get it right!!!!!

Malimus: eSpresso is coffee. eXpresso is my soul.

PostLibyan: Your soul is based on a common mis-understanding of an Italian word? Man, that sucks ... Maybe [the Weezer review] is the first thing you have composed that people can understand?

Malimus: I think from now on I'm going to write all of my reviews as haiku.

Just so, you know, ya know. As such, I present you, the fair reader, with the first of my series of haiku reviews. In true American Zen fashion, I will attach a commentary to the end of the exercise, detailing the points it is trying to make, and thus destroying all possibility of the exercise actually attaining any sort of Zen moment for the reader. So, here we go, okay? The new Imperial Teen album (out on Merge Records), reviewed as haiku:

New wave retro chic
All asses on the dance floor
Shake that love machine

I'm pushing the traditional boundaries of the form, I must admit, but I think it is defensible that "retro chic" sets the season, in a certain sense, no? Okay, it's not Basho or anything, but it's a start.

Now, the always-helpful commentary!

I hearby submit to the class On as 2002's record of the year. It is great. Great, great, great, great, great. Really, really great. Imperial Teen is great. This is their third album, and they've yet to release anything worse than a 6-sponger. Imperial Teen is just great. On is just great.

Does that clarify everything? No? Okay, how's about we mention the fact that this is what New Wave should sound like in 2002. Catchy, poppy, hooks that just beg the listener to sing along, the best boy-girl melodies EVER. Imagine if Blondie and Adam Ant were to get together and form a New Wave super group. Now update that sound for the post-grunge era. Improve the interplay between the members to the point where you're unable to conceive of the four members separately, thinking only of them as slightly individuated aspects of the perfect pop band. And give them a catalogue of songs with lyrics that accent perfectly the gender-bending dynamic of the form.


I'm serious people; this is just the greatest record in the world. Ivanka kicks everything off with a straight-up guitar-pop groove. "One two three go…" and they're off. The bass line carries the song while the guitars serve as secondary lyrical content as much as "guitars". Baby swings in on a flurry of female "Whoa," handclaps and guitar riffs. "Shake shake, va va voom, vis a vis. Go go, I do you, you do me…" The first bridge introduces a synthesizer beat straight out of The Psychadelic Furs. By Sugar you've forgotten what decade you're in and thinking about day-glo shoestrings. By Million $ Man you've forgotten the very existence of linear spatio-temporality.

Why don't you own this record? Why aren't you dancing?!?

What? You don't like the 80s? That's okay. I personally detest the 80s. I hated New Wave. I hate retro-radio programming selling the stupid kids a nostalgia they didn't have to live through. I hate most things that remind me even slightly of my youth, in fact. But if that godforsaken decade had produced a few more albums of this quality, I might be less bitter.

Stop reading this review. Go to the Merge site and order this damned CD. BUY IT NOW! You'll thank me for it.

Now, how to explain The Meat Purveyors in 17 syllables…

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