Atari “will aim at capitalizing on other rapidly growing markets and reaching out to new audiences — including LGBT, social casinos, real-money gambling, and YouTube with exclusive video content”…
When I was about 7, I used to have a toy keyring that made 8-bit weapon noises when you pressed each of the four brightly-coloured buttons: the rifle (yellow) went pew-pew-pew, grenade launcher (red) went deeedle-eeeedle-eeeedle-oddle-BLATAATATAT, and the machine gun (blue) made the sound that Alec Empire has put on the verse here. It must have come out of a cracker or a Kinder Egg, or something else able to conceal its inappropriate nature. I can’t remember what the green button did but perhaps we can assign it Alec’s beyond-parodical lyrics, which could well be classified as a kind of aural warfare. Not offensive or scary, just jaw-droppingly bad. “Algorithms! Algorithms! Have you found your new religion?
” We’re talking car-crash levels of shit here, and just as I nearly drove Mum to distraction by continually pressing the grenade launcher, I cannot stop playing it.
Brad Shoup: I kinda feel like the difference between ATR and Scooter is but a mere bounce of God’s dice, so I can accept this as merely really entertaining. The refrain’s melted sugar is just kind of slopped on you; it’s more tart and more surprising than BiS managed on “STUPiG”. Even though I’d still want InfoSec Taylor Swift to take a pass at those too-hopeful lyrics, I can’t imagine she’d be able to make the chorus any poppier.
Alfred Soto: With its segues, electronic interludes, female choruses, and sampled nonsense, it could be a Trevor Horn track from a ’85 Grace Jones record. But this isn’t 1985. And what the fuck are they doing?
Thomas Inskeep: KMFDM 2014, both in terms of the combination of riffage and beats, and that it’s not a patch on their past glories. That said, Alec Empire still knows how to hit my pleasure centers, just perhaps not as well as he used to do.
Edward Okulicz: This is nonsense, delivered with ludicrous conviction, and nothing more. But speed up that chorus by about 10-15 per cent and you have a great lost Shampoo single.
Maxwell Cavaseno: The problem with all punks is that when you get to a certain point, you become old hat. Atari Teenage Riot are no different. Alec Empire and Nic Endo’s brand of sonic attack has also grown cliché: the metallic thrash guitars and glitch-and-gabber sturm having become primitive to anyone who’s heard the recent advances in both hardcore guitar and electronics since ATR pulled the plug. Your author humbly suggests anyone looking for a better song to turn to fellow dance music/punk infiltrator Andy Weatherall’s remix of ATR’s “J1.M1” for an early-Ministry-esque goth shuffle, or for a modern mutation of eclectic electronics and punk rage to go look up Houston’s “B L A C K I E.” But ATR are just no longer the voice of those who stare into the eyes of the future.
Anthony Easton: I suspect that Atari Teenage Riot takes their politics less seriously than I thought they did when I heard them on a CMJ comp bought at the 7-11 during high school. The techno future breakthrough is about as relevant a statement as the “Hack the World” chorus in the film Hackers, which I also watched about the time I was listening to CMJ comps. I still cannot tell how absurd this is, but we rarely can rate absurdity of the things that we were interested in at 17.
Katherine St Asaph: We live in a cyberpunk dystopia, our most critically acclaimed artists are releasing dystopian work, and our pop stars wear cyberpunk as costumes; yet original-issue cyberpunk has perhaps aged worse than any genre of the past few decades. The new stuff isn’t great either. When artists go for serious they mostly suck, and when they go for satire it also fails, because real life is a better technological satire than most writers can produce. When they go for Atari Teenage (Digital) Rioting? It’s just silly. A non-trivial portions of the world’s hackers, DJs, activists and riot grrrls are currently on opposite sides of a death threat shitstorm, so I’m not sure there’s any coming together to be had, certainly not around Atari Teenage Fucking Riot; meanwhile, when Alec starts yelling about algorithms he’s as believable and un-embarrassing as Mark shouting from the table in RENT. (He doesn’t give us the catharsis he started: “Some say computers are destroying our humanity… but we say, humanity is DESTROYING OUR COMPUTERS!”) Yet “Modern Liars” is somehow galvanizing, and I’m gonna hack history to explain why. Is This Hyperreal? came out in 2011, but let’s suppose it didn’t, and ATR went away in 1999. They’d have kept a song around, which’d explain why the “Modern Liars” intro is a distorted Max Martin riff from 2000. They watched as electroclash, Sleigh Bells, even mainstream pop made their sound seem half-OK, even cool?! Then this year they heard a PC Music song, with its sugary chorus, and thought it the absolute last straw (the next-to-last straw being, I dunno, the NSA or something.) All of that is probably bunk. But it’s why I don’t hate this.