Thursday, September 10th, 2009

3OH!3 – Starstrukk

Whaddya mean we missed the boat?…


Rodney J. Greene: Even more unabashedly trashy and electro-damaged than “Don’t Trust Me”, which is fine. Improbably creepier, too, which is not.

Hillary Brown: Yikes. Chuck Bass’s theme song, but with a similar smarmy charm.

Matt Cibula: I don’t like their music one bit; all it does is remind me how much better and more open-heartedly Junior Senior did this. But at least these uggos do step up and dare you to hate them, don’t they? Rock points for that.

Cecily Nowell-Smith: Guys, I’m pretty excited, I think this is one for the books, I think we’ve discovered the most hateable hybrid genre yet: EMOCLASH! The children of Peaches and Conor Oberst! False-bottomed beats, wolf-whistles and backhanded bragging, a bit of mild LCD copyism and an excellent fakey breakdown toward the end. I want to punch it in the face; I want to dance to it five ecstatic times in a single night before declaring it over and dull and impossibly passé. Pity no DJ I’ll hear out will ever play it, because they recognise what I’m unwilling to admit: that this is novelty college pop, Warped Tour “I heard some dance once” tokenism, a Cobra Starship without the charm, gauche enough to make an American Apparel ad blanch.

Doug Robertson: I was wondering what had happened to The Bloodhound Gang.

Frank Kogan: As someone who’d have given “Don’t Trust Me” an 8 or 9 and would have written a brilliantly conflicted review to challenge you all, had I gotten to it, I was hoping for… well, something better than this, which just sucks: weak and amateurish beats, distracting sine waves, a poor rehash of a previous melody. “I think I should know how to make love to something innocent without leaving my fingerprints out”; I’m confused as to whether they want to leave a mark or not, and they’re confused as to whether they want to be marked, so there’s a lot for them to draw on, a lot to explore about loathing and toughness, and they could unleash a lot of power and desperate sarcasm and fear and venom and joy in themselves and their wtf YouTube girls, but that was last time.

Michaelangelo Matos: Not as world-endingly bad as their earlier hit was reputed to be (still haven’t heard it), but annoying as fuck anyway.

Dan MacRae: I would rather have Mary Murphy’s head surgically attached to my shoulder and scream “hot tamale train!” into my ear whenever I attempt intercourse than ever hear this piece of shit again.

Anthony Easton: To be so stupid requires a certain amount of intelligence: the argument has been made in the critical reception around Das Racist, but I think this track, with its high end perv aesthetic and its orgiastic camped out video, makes it better.

Martin Skidmore: The rapping is basic, but at least delivered with vigour and conviction; there are decent harmony moments, the electro pulsing is often energetic, and at times you feel you are on the verse of a catchy refrain. It put me off when I decided they thought they were amusing, but there are things I like a bit here.

Martin Kavka: One would not think that a version of Fischerspooner in which the two guys’ aesthetic was created by a steady diet of homemade porn, as opposed to an art school curriculum, could possibly be enjoyable. One would be distressingly proved wrong.

Chuck Eddy: Toni Basil beats plus Steve Miller “whit whoos” plus Duice Daisy Dukes plus Trent Reznor whispers (in a song at least as catchy as any NIN ever hit with) plus “Ain’t Talkin Bout Love”/”What’s Love Got To Do With It” anti-romance probably add up to something; I’m just not sure what yet. Their synths are still fuzzy and their slimy whines still forceful in ways that counter their genre and/or generation, and I’m halfway toward convincing myself they might be true punks — setting you up just to knock you down. Or maybe they’re just bullies, or maybe there’s no difference. Still, “Don’t Trust Me” was far more convincing in its hostility and self-loathing than this one.

John Seroff: Several listens later, “Starstrukk” brings to mind Willie Dixon’s “Weak Brain, Narrow Mind“. Bear with me: Dixon’s immortal blues is a lament of incapacity, of knowing that you know too little but never being able to learn enough to escape the trap. The terribly named 3OH!3’s glitchy R2D2 romance is predicated on similar limitations, except here it’s the inability to express genuine emotions or to care about anything meaningful at all. It’s an American caveman’s stunted howl of regret, a song that wishes it could say something that matters but doesn’t know how. And if that analysis doesn’t play for you, there are still some delights to be found between the crisp, precise sheets of production or in the knob-twiddling trickery that whips the unctuous numskull lyrics into a foam of electric dissonance. It’s as catchy, self-absorbed and conflicted as anything you’re likely to hear this week.

Ian Mathers: It’s a rare song that, regardless of how accurate the bragging is, makes painfully obvious that the band involved is composed of bad people. And not in that cool “oh man, check that guy out” way so much as “why is that fratty douchenozzle at the next table trying to grope my girlfriend? Oh good, she’s kicking his ass.”

Alex Ostroff: The hooks in “Don’t Trust Me” were so massive that the blatant misogyny present in so much emo (and its electronic offshoots) was overlooked at the end of the day. Not so here. Kitschy whistling and buzzy synths don’t make the “Long legs / Daisy Dukes / Low cut shirts” chants seem any less like a creepy alternate universe version of “Hollaback Girl” sung by frat boys. The constant refrain of “I just set them up” just makes me long for LCD Soundsystem. “I should know how to make love to something innocent without leaving my fingerprints,” we’re informed. Three cheers for Madonna/Whore complexes!

Iain Mew: A stark marriage of the compelling and repellent that I think I might just love, if only I didn’t understand English.

Al Shipley: If you can find a way to rip off a Juelz Santana song and actually dumb it down, that’s kind of an accomplishment in and of itself, I suppose.

Additional Scores

Spencer Ackerman: [3]
Anthony Miccio: [6]

17 Responses to “3OH!3 – Starstrukk”


  2. “The band involved is composed of bad people.”


  3. These guys make me empathise with uber-militant feminists who want to eradicate mankind completely. I don’t really like that particular form of extremism though so I stopped listening before I went on a bollock-cauterizing rampage.

  4. It’s not the “Long legs / Daisy Dukes / Low cut shirts” parts that are creepy (though they are certainly caveman dumb, but I don’t have a problem with that on principle — I’d probably like them if Pitbull was doing them), it’s that dude wishes he could screw virgins without — gawd forbid! — deflowering them.

  5. I can’t tell if Anthony and Keane are being sarcastic or not, but I’m amused either way.

  6. Oh no, I actually laughed for a good five minutes at the phrasing.

    Yes, I am easily amused.

  7. Glad to be of service!

  8. i am being serious, or as serious as this track requires

  9. i’ll be curious to see if Plies’ ‘Becky’ gets people this indignant.

  10. Guys… this isn’t emo.

    Also, Alex, any misogyny in emo is far more complex than “blatant” allows.

  11. Didn’t mean to tar all of it with the same brush, and blatant is probably an exaggeration, but even stuff that I love within whatever gets tagged with the emo label these days (Fall Out Boy, for example) has a healthy dose of resentment and bile directed at chicks. Part of it might come from the tendency of (whatever we’re calling this genre)’s functioning as a sensitive relationship confessional thing for boys in a way that numerous other genres function for girls, leading to a uniformly masculine perspective and a lack of agency for women in songs, but…it’s there, even if it’s nowhere near as gross as 3OH!3 Undercurrent might have been a better word.

    I’m not quite awake at the moment, so I’ll get back to this with proper support later.

  12. Cecily Nowell-Smith said it well. And Dan MacRae had me laughing my ass off. (Or should I say LMFAO?) I don’t know where they found these guys, probably dug up from underground or somewhere in the Land of the Lost, but they are GODAWFUL!!! What is really creepy is the “i think i should know how to make love you something innocent without leaving my fingerprints out” part. Ummmm, pedophilia come to mind for anyone? The song is a combination of primitive chanting, screeches, and an occasional attempt at a melody set to the backdrop of a 1993 video game. Amazing.

  13. and btw, what is with the exclamation point in their name? 3 OH! 3, like we are supposed to get excited and really project when we mention their name? or is it more of a sexual Oh!? like they want to hear girls emphasize the Oh! when they yell for them. either way, it’s gross. those guys are gross. the one in the front looks like a chimpanzee. the one in the back looks like he got in a fight with his sister’s dress-up box. I am feverishly anticipating the fall of this genre, but I know that sadly a new, more onoxious one will undoubtedly take its place.

  14. some questions:

    a) is misogyny in sexy dance music more acceptable when it is created in a hip hop context?
    b) is the amalgamation b/w the urge to dance/fuck and the urge for emotional rawness only allowed among high indie? (ie aren’t 3OH!3 and LCD soundsystem playing the same game, just the 3OH!3 is less mournful and more angry? Is mournful a more acceptable emotion then anger? Losing yr edge is not a concern for 3OH!3, but losing desire is?
    c) It does objectify women, for sure, but this clucking about that seems to be a fear of sexual frankness, or at least a certain kind of sexual frankness.
    d) for me, the line about not learning to pronounce love, or not knowing how to say sorry, or about perserving innocence is indicative of this trend i find in young men, where they hide a lack of knowledge about the protocols of sex with a braggadocio about having it–though this is present here, it recognizes the phallocentric fear of doing damage, the paranoia of going to far, and having that go far, going out of control. some of it blames the female partner, the whisper chorus of the gun metaphor is play acting though, it follows with “i think i should know”, which is a profoundly ambigious gambit in the desire to seduce, and actually fairly similar to Wilson’s gambit in God Only Knows: “i may not always love you” (the ambiguity of the gambit, and then the closing of the gambit is unpresent in 3OH!3 because the ambiguity is not a problem not to be served by romance–this is not a falling in love song, this is a Post-AIDS, Post Femminism, Post-Rape Crisis Let’s Fuck Song. (it is not nearly as good as god only knows, but there is so little that is as good as god only knows)
    e) also, it means something but i am not sure what, that there are any number of female fronted versions of this on the web. rewrites, responding to the original text.
    f) the video features a polymorphus pile, a pan-racial pile, and a pile where gender is blurred, there is free floating miasma of fuckability, a puppy pile of initial play here.
    g) i think it is aproblematic text, but a brilliant one.

  15. ok quesitons and arguements,.

  16. And I think they seem like collossal assholes in a way that makes me unwilling to engage with this song as “a problematic text.” Shrug.

  17. why do you find them to be assholes?