Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Confidence Man – Boyfriend (Repeat)

So… so no one else sees “Janet Planet” and thinks immediately of that Magic School Bus episode?


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[6.67]

Will Rivitz: If the iPod Shuffle ever makes a comeback, this would be the ad’s soundtrack.
[5]

Jonathan Bradley: Confidence Man’s single is peppy electro-funk that warps in some pleasant ways and, in other moments, reminds me of why LCD Soundsystem’s mid-range, mid-tempo squelches could be such a slog. It’s very mid-’00s in sound, and Janet Planet’s snappy vocal, about the troubles experienced by those afflicted with a no-good paramour, is fun when it brings to mind the chic of New Young Pony Club, and less so when I recall the shouting Ting Tings. The dramatic tension is where this fails for me: the dude-who-won’t-shut-up is a gender subversion worth a retweet, but it seems much ado about very little. Why not ditch him?
[5]

Iain Mew: The scathing humour including the hapless boy inserts is funny and there’s a great chorus in there somewhere, but it doesn’t quite work for me. I think the issue is that their sound, somewhere between CSS and Girls Aloud, is an awkward compromise between polished and throwaway that ends up with the worst of both, close to grating at points but still never grabbing as much as it could.
[5]

Will Adams: Aims for electro-kitsch in the vein of Todd Terje but veers too far into the comedic. Between the awful “REEEPEEAAAT” (like a sound effect out of Kid Pix) and the spoken word of the bumbling dude crowding the mix, there are too many elements constantly trying to get your attention.
[5]

A.J. Cohn: There is much to enjoy in this song: the lead vocalist’s gloriously snotty delivery, her hype-woman’s warrior girl whoops, the peeved boyfriend in the background, all accompanied by perfectly cheesy retro electro-pop. But a little editing wouldn’t hurt — this song feels, to some degree, like an extended mix of itself.
[7]

Alfred Soto: The arch talk-singing and synth bass brought to mind Reagan-era novelties like “I Wanna Be a Cowboy,” “Money,” and “88 Lines About 44 Women,” updated for the DFA age. I can’t resist the twitchy beat, and neither can her boyfriend.
[7]

Edward Okulicz: That bassline is a sure-fire party starter, and the girl’s snot is infectious. Oh, but it would have been so much funnier if they’d put that sly “Get down!” exhortation immediately after “he don’t reciprocate.” It’s a stretch, but I really enjoy how this song punctures the idea of the laid-back Australian dude and instead preaches the truth that instead we’re a bunch of hapless whingers. It could decimate the local tourist industry overnight, but if Confidence Man were to add an even crueller third verse, they could be looking at a Teenagers-style viral hit.
[7]

Brad Shoup: Splicing the sputtering boyfriend into Janet Planet’s new-wave plaintalk is a great way to… uh, break up a text that’s humorously cruel but not really funny. (Not until “Every day’s the same/I wake up, he’s in my bed”.) With the guy, it’s a great pop song; without him, it’s a DFA revival cut — which would still be a neat trick, mind. But damn if the low-end “repeat”s and that funky programming don’t wanna be startin’ something.
[7]

Ramzi Awn: The male chorus on “repeat” is just the cherry on top of this sturdy single, throwing childlike fun into an eclectic mix reminiscent of Kathleen Hanna. Their love may not be enough, but the song definitely is.
[8]

Claire Biddles: The first time I heart the way the singer spits out “my boyfriend wants to TALK” I swear I choked on my drink. This is such an excellent call-out of self-styled nice guys who think loud girls are too much and profess to be feminists but won’t go down on the girls they are supposed to be fucking. I mean, not that I’m speaking from experience of course. We hear that “he won’t reciprocate” — a tale as old as time — turning the command “GET DOWN!” into an eyebrow-raising double-entendre. The bored petulance of the singer matched with the Dee-Lite-meets-Kenickie disco backing makes me think Confidence Man is a collection of all the coolest girls in the schoolyard — I should add them to mine and my friends’ boy-hating group chat, I’m sure we’d all have a lot to talk about.
[8]

Scott Mildenhall: “As I lie here thinking of you, I realise that nothing is new.” Confidence Man might be taking the opposite angle to The Belle Stars in their complaints here, but the latter were certainly correct. “Boyfriend (Repeat)” is in a curious, often glorious lineage of deadpan dissing. Like The Flying Lizards’ “Money,” Pay TV’s “Trendy Discotheque” and The Gonnabees’ “Cheat On My Boyfriend,” it revels in being quite horrible with the minimum of audible emotion — to a degree that it leaves that revelling only to be inferred. Openly, the band only go as far as citing Todd Terje as a fundamental influence, and thus the onus is on the listener to ruminate on that and its gender implications. The character singing it might have zoned out sentences ago.
[8]

Megan Harrington: What can I say? I’m a fool for songs featuring unreliable narrators pithily disparaging the person they’re dating. “Boyfriend” is all nitrous synths and monotone disinterest — boredom breeding meanness — until the outro when it can’t keep up the pose any longer and neither can I and all that’s left is dancing. 
[8]

Reader average: [9] (4 votes)

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2 Responses to “Confidence Man – Boyfriend (Repeat)”

  1. Planet schmanet, Janet.

    Missed out on blurbing this as well but it’s definitely a [8] or [9] from me. That REEEEEEPEAT is so obnoxious and I love it so much.

  2. That was the Magic School Bus episode that gave me nightmares as a child. :(

    Nice song though.