Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Haiku Hands – Not About You

Let’s get bratty…


Will Adams: What it is about: the thwacking intro from Onuka’s latest stormer, brattiness distilled from decades of the stuff, from Gillette to Icona Pop, the brashness of M.I.A.’s underrated Maya and, lest you get too serious about it all, the enduring credo of “CHIIIIIIIILL.”

Claire Biddles: Bratty shout-a-longs are best when their attitude is met with charm, and “Not About You” has heaps of attitude and heaps of charm: in its wild rhymes (“I’m going to tear up the lexicon with a hexagon and my sexy thong on”!!) and their delivery; heavily accented and with just the right amount of comic timing. This sits between “Mind Your Own Business” by Chicks On Speed and “Trouble” by Shampoo on my getting-ready-to-go-out playlist and it has already served as the precursor of innumerable nights of dancing and shouting and drinking cheap white wine, which I think Haiku Hands would deem appropriate.

Tim de Reuse: Sounds like a bunch of friends having a blast, and it’s infectious; the occasional sections where it sounds like they’re just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks (“I’m gonna kick your arse…”) are far outweighed by lines like “You look like a tortoise / Your issues are enormous,” which is possibly the most fucking incredible rhyme I’ve heard in my entire life.

Alfred Soto: Imagine Tom Tom Club or the Raincoats over the crummiest drum program they could find. “You look like a tortoise/Your issues are enormous” is funny because it’s true and funny because it’s funny. “Not About You” should be twelve minutes long.

Iain Mew: I haven’t heard something new like this since the UK industry decided to pretend The Ting Tings never happened. I’d welcome the return even if Haiku Hands didn’t bring even more scrappy energy and such great brags and threats to kick arse.

Katie Gill: I mean it’s cute? But cute can only go so far, especially when the song just seems too juvenile. The way of singing (cheering?) is a schoolyard chant that occasionally matches the schoolyard chant lyrics. The beat just sounds basic and dull, like someone just discovered this fun setting on the keyboard to use. I’m certain that if you’re drunk and screaming along with it then this is the best song in the world, and I can see why this would have appeal. But then again, I thought the Ting Tings were just okay when they first came on the scene as well.

Nortey Dowuona: Bouncy, echoey drums, rubbery and light of foot bass bounce together with scatterings of synths and bubbles and noises as Haiku Hands hi-five, dap and secret handshake across the beat.

Brad Shoup: I thought they were laying the shut ups too softly, but the track’s less shit-talk than trash talk. It’s nearly as posi as prime youth crew, but the punks couldn’t rhyme. 

Jonathan Bradley: Haiku Hands give 2017 its own update of Confidence Man, but while the electro thunk remains rudimentary, the sass is more fun this time around. You can go a long way with a Fight Like Apes-level couplet like “you look like a tortoise/your issues are enormous.”

Ian Mathers: Some of the lines are a bit whiffed, but that infectious chorus chanting (complete with plenty of slight shifts in meter) redeems a multitude of sins. Which is why the middle here, where they go too long without it, drags a little. It’s no “I Love It,” but what is?

Maxwell Cavaseno: It’s a sign of the times really. The 00s version of white-girl electro-rap was all about the ironic detached nihilism pose of Uffie where everything was like, the coolest post-Kittin bomb-out of sick parties that sounded both more glamorous and more sordid than the hollow reality of what actually happened. Now, in the 2010s, we get a hollow sort of ideological boasting, solidarity as pep rally which is meant more as some kind of shield rattle than any offer of strength or genuine unity. You can hear in its industrial pulse, the grinding and pressing of many a “Queen of ___” meme ready to be imposed and impressed on any subject regardless of worth or merit, just to say they can. Frankly, one would just hope the music might do something a little different between then and now as well.

William John: I suspect my submission of a blurb for this song contravenes its titular tenet. But I thought it worth mentioning that an aesthetic of “zippy shout-a-long to something that scans like a sped up instrumental of M.I.A. and Afrikan Boy’s ‘Hussel'” is one I wholeheartedly support.

Will Rivitz: It’s the last week of the semester where I’m at, and stress is approaching untenable levels. This song’s making me want to throw my textbooks on the library floor and stomp out, making as big a ruckus as I can. It’s impossible to put into words how unreasonably humongous this song is – try to encompass it in any manner and it immediately bursts the seams of whatever you’re futilely attempting to contain it with. This grabs all the best elements of Justice, Erol Alkan, Boys Noize, Shiny Toy Guns, and really anyone else who caused a nuclear reaction by fusing synthpop and electro, and shoots them into the stratosphere with the force of a cannonball.

Rebecca A. Gowns: At last, we get 2017’s very own Gravy Train!!!! Fun as hell and makes me feel 15 years younger. (And then, like an ancient crone, I have to stop my frenetic dancing when I start wheezing for breath.)

Stephen Eisermann: “212” by Azealia Banks without the lyrical bite, but just as fun to dance to. I haven’t wanted to go to a gay club in quite some time, but now all I want to is drink too much, pop something I shouldn’t, and get sweaty on a dance floor with my boyfriend.

Julian de Valliere: The past two years have been an amazing time (at least in terms of quality) for pop music, but they’ve also been a not-entirely-stellar time for me. I’m gay, brown, and fighting every day to somehow crawl out of this homophobic hellhole of a country that I so foolishly decided to get born into. This means that I spend a good part of my time retreating into frothy pop tunes that can afford me some respite from what’s typically an emotionally exhausting day. It also means that when it comes to the media I consume, I don’t really subscribe to the idea of separating the person from the product. Needless to say, it’s been fairly garbage having to accept just how little pop stars care about the things that matter to me. As the planet reveals itself to be even bleaker than I imagined, songs that previously brought me comfort have become tainted by the actions – or inaction – of the people performing them. New releases don’t fare any better. No matter how desperately I need to escape into those earworms, the voice at the back of my head just won’t let me forget how one-sided these relationships are. And it stings. It stings because I have no fond memories left, it stings because I can’t make new ones, it stings to watch other people enjoy these songs unphased, because they have these beautiful, vibrant, synth-heavy safe spaces to escape into and I don’t, because whenever I try to step inside, I can only notice how the guest list has my name directly below the host’s favourite homophobe. And every tweet, stream, download, and new chart peak reminds me that I’m in a spectacular minority of people being affected by this, and it’s so intensely isolating that I’m still not entirely sure how to put it into words. So yes, that’s not ideal. And at the same time, I know I’m not the only person having a rough time. There are so many people who aren’t being spoken for, who maybe I haven’t even thought of myself, and being aware of that stings too. And that’s what makes all this kumbaya bullshit being peddled by supposedly progressive acts so infuriating. No one should have to sit down and have a meal with someone who’d rather just spit in their drink. If someone’s being wilfully ignorant, they don’t deserve a seat at the table. They don’t even deserve a polite “just so you know” in a corner of the room. They deserve to be told to shut the hell up, as forcibly and loudly as possible, preferably with a megaphone involved, until the entire building reverberates with the shock of just how wrong they are. And that’s what “Not About You” does. I know Haiku Hands aren’t singing for me either, but I’m so ridiculously glad that at least a few other people have been given somewhere to run to whenever they need it. And I’m also glad it’s such a full throttle banger, because if you need the defence that Haiku Hands put up, god knows you deserve some fun too.

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3 Responses to “Haiku Hands – Not About You”

  1. Julian is amazing.

  2. I concur.

  3. thanks you two <33

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