Friday, August 12th, 2011

Icona Pop – Manners

I bet Icona Pop put those glow in the dark stars up in their bedrooms when they were kids.


Katherine St Asaph: “Manners” follows the Swedish pop template almost exactly, a tiptoe on the verses leading into a fifteen-voice gnash of a chorus too gleeful for its lyrics. But the trick is that absolutely sordid synth bass and percussion stalking beneath it, inobtrusive only if you’re not paying attention. Try to take in those spaceship-radar pings or the 16-bit frippery and it buzzes right back to the front. It doesn’t exist for contrast so much as copping an attitude, and it’s entirely responsible (well, OK, it and the video) for “Manners”’s breakout from the Swedeblog litter bin.

Ian Mathers: Weirdly enough, something about the intonation in the first verse made me think briefly that Icona Pop was Hello Saferide’s synth pop side project. But the lyrics definitely aren’t good enough for that, the chorus vocals are pretty offputting, and this is one of the songs I mean when I talk about songs that say things like “you’ll never do better than me” but sound totally unconvinced of their own thesis.

Sally O’Rourke: I can’t think of many other songs that couch rejection as a breach of etiquette, but it makes sense as an outlet for displacing the pain of being cast aside. It isn’t the break-up that hurts, Icona Pop insists; it’s the lack of proper procedure. Or perhaps the word “manners” is a “bless your heart”-style euphemism for “I’d bust your ass if I weren’t so classy.” At any rate, offering the dumper a chance to reconsider is far too generous, even if it’s a nifty excuse for a false ending.

Jonathan Bogart: Dreamy goth-march, recommended (only?) for those who are still head over heels in love with 1983.

Brad Shoup: Jeez, that refrain! It’s wonderful, it’s archaic (manners?!), it’s like Kids Bop: The Knife. The spaces around don’t do nearly enough: Patrick Berger’s programming choices size each other up, biding time ’til both singers ditch the passive aggression and get indignant. I dunno, maybe a full song with the multi-vocal approach would have sounded like Golden Shoulders or something, but it’s a worthy risk.

Zach Lyon: Originally thought the lyric was “mothers!” which made it seem like the weirdest babysitting ad ever. Still have no idea what the point is, but it sure sounds nice enough.

Michaela Drapes: The next time I hear this, I’ll be shopping at Urban Oufitters, clawing my brains out trying to remember the name of the band. Just catchy enough to be annoyingly forgettable.

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