Friday, August 21st, 2009

Lisa Mitchell – Coin Laundry

OK, the fuck is a “meet-cute”?…


Michaelangelo Matos: “Can I be the girl that you met at the coin laundry?” Sure, as soon as you’re done being the girl in the quirky hat I meet-cute with in front of Whole Foods, the girl who wonders winsomely if God was one of us, except, you know, ironically, and the girl who thinks actual personalities are for people who don’t live in large cities on trust funds.

John M. Cunningham: The notion of a meet-cute in a laundromat must have seemed too irresistible to pass up: soap bubbles! humming machines! a peek at someone’s unmentionables as they happily spin around in circles! Surely that’s why Steve Martin had the main character of his novella Shopgirl meet her boyfriend at one, despite his observation that it’s the “least noir dating arena on earth.” But the laundromat around the corner from me is not only not-noir, it’s operated by a temperamental old Russian couple (Yuri barked at me to help him fold a sheet the other day), half the equipment doesn’t work, and it’s cluttered with coat hangers, scraps of newspaper, and beat-up radios. So I’m sorry, but I’m not seeing it.

Edward Okulicz: The mass of voices and beatbox-ish percussion is starkly attractive and interesting, but whoever decided to put that horribly plonked piano on top of it needs to learn that sometimes less is more. That goes double for Mitchell, who can’t decide whether babyish or quirky is her strong suit, doesn’t realise that the answer is “neither” and babbles a complete mess over the top of whatever of the tune isn’t hiding from the silly keyboards.

Chuck Eddy: Nowhere near as good as the Five Royales’ “Laundromat Blues,” Vivien Goldman’s “Launderette,” the Pretenders’ “Watching The Clothes,” the Electric Eels’ “Agitated,” or Trafassi’s “Wasmasjien.” Also I hate her stupid phlegmatic monotone squeak, and how she pronounces “dollar” like “daughter” (or “darling”?), and that she is not Liz Mitchell from Boney M and Les Humphries Singers making a major comeback. Also I hope she waits there all day and never gets a dryer.

Matt Cibula: How wonderfully annoying this is! I should hate it but I just can’t — big sacrifice for me, as this goes against my long-standing policy. Rating is more on potential than anything else, she’s the Fabian Delph of indie pop. Not sure how I’d feel about it on the radio though.

Anthony Miccio: Despite the piano-playing kitten scrunching her voice and sharing her adorable romantic fantasies – anyone actually hungry for more of this? – the cutest part of the track is the tinny beatbox(ing?) that pushes it along.

Ian Mathers: Apparently there’s something about Australians that renders me more kindly disposed towards tweeness (see also Kate Miller-Heidke), because I think this is winsome rather than grating. Maybe it’s the pasted-together feel of the sounds that make up “Coin Laundry,” or the actually cute video (which only works because the guy is never able to see her), or maybe it’s just the little “do ya? do ya?” refrains.

Tom Ewing: Five justifications for five points: 1. The ahoooooo bits might be the first Shakira she-wolf tribute! 2. Kinda love the toy guitar solo. 3. Beatboxing is one of the four elements! Of tweeness. 4. It is the first song since Black Box Recorder to remind me of my favourite ever one-hit wonder, Sue Wilkinson’s “You Gotta Be A Hustler If You Want To Get On”. It’s the way she says “a common thief”. 5. “Coin Laundry” is a great word for launderette. And vice versa!

Alex Macpherson: Lisa Mitchell is an adult woman pretending to be an eight-year-old; the effect is nails-on-blackboard grating and not a little creepy. It doesn’t help that she bears an unsettling resemblance to the psycho girl in hilariously terrible horror flick Orphan – seriously, face, voice, mannerisms, everything.

Frank Kogan: A little-girl voice that’s too blank for any actual little girl except one who’s auditioning for a horror movie. She’s singing in retreat, then erasing the retreat, though not turning the resignation into aggression, just adding a sour note here and there. Comment at “I love the line: ‘have you got a little old house and a lemon tree?’ as though it was the most common thing you could ask. HA!” I can see why some people might identify with this music, but I hope they change.

Additional Scores

Anthony Easton: [2]
Martin Kavka: [1]
Al Shipley: [2]
Martin Skidmore: [2]

12 Responses to “Lisa Mitchell – Coin Laundry”

  1. Will:

    A Google news search attests to its existence in this sense as early as the mid-1940s.

  2. Never heard that term before.

  3. I read a lot of Roger Ebert growing up.

  4. It’s a new one to me, too; never heard it before today. So, was the phrase actually invented by film critics, or filmmakers, or who? (Possibly the Wiki entry would answer that question, but I’m too lazy to look.)

  5. Here’s the OED entry, part of the “meet” definition:

    to meet cute: (in film-makers’ jargon, of two characters) to have an accidental meeting which leads to or is followed by romantic involvement.

    1941 A. BOUCHER Case of Solid Key iii. 49 Last night was nice, but this is today. We met cute, as they say in story conferences; but people don’t live cute. 1956 G. AXELROD Will Success spoil Rock Hunter? 82 Irving: Dear boy, the beginning of a movie is childishly simple. The boy and girl meet. The only important thing to remember is thatin a moviethe boy and the girl must meet in some cute way. They like normal people at, perhaps, a cocktail party or some other social function. No. It is terribly important that they meet cute. 1966 F. POHL Day Million in Rogue Feb.-Mar. 48/2 ‘Oh, hell!’ she cried in pretty confusion, reaching out to catch her balance and finding herself tumbled against a total stranger, whom we will call Don. They met cute. 1978 Washington Post 3 Feb. D6 They met ‘cute’ at something called Ohio Southern University in the late ’40s. 1985 Observer 5 May 21/2 They both commute into New York..and literally bump into each other — ‘meet cute’ in screenwriters’ jargon. 1995 Observer 23 Apr. (Review section) 8/5 A romantic tale of an American student..and a French student..meeting cute (as they say in Hollywood) on a train.

  6. Yeah, I think I probably first read it in Ebert, too.

  7. Oh, this. This kinda seals it: isn’t it pretty obvious by now that indie rock’s most obvious contribution to culture-at-large is this sort of whimsical infantilism, this desperation to be loved expressed in the most passive-aggressive manner possible? ARGH.

  8. And not one mention of Australian Idol, on which i loved her, really. Even though that Mauboy girl sure makes better pop.

  9. A romantic tale of an American student..and a French student..meeting cute (as they say in Hollywood) on a train.

    Like Farley Granger and Robert Walker!

  10. How can you not like this song? It gets into your head and when its coupled with the video i find myself listening to it again and again.
    I can understand someone saying they dont like the song but saying “the effect is nails-on-blackboard grating” is a little over the top, and insulting Lisa herself is just rude.
    I challenge anyone that is willing to insult this song make a better one themselves. Its either that or shut the fuck up and stop bitching.

  11. Very amusing analysis, but Coin Laundry is a light hearted, catchy song that I like very much. Sometimes you can over analyse. Lisa is one of the most talented singer/songwriters I have heard for a long time. One of Lisa’s strengths is her sensitivity and ability to convey emotion through song. Lisa is still very young, and I hope if she is does read posts like these Lisa is sufficiently self-confident and intelligent to understand she can’t please all of the people all of the time. People should cut her some slack and let her develop her talent.

  12. lisa mitchell is a tryhard-wanna-be piece of shit. she cant sing for shit