I've been following Freezepop since their first LP and, well, as much as I love the band, I feel like they've been on a steady downhill slope. Every album since 2002's debut Freezepop Forever has been just a little more mediocre than the last. Honestly, I liked a single song on their previous album Future Future Future Perfect and even that track felt more like a Le Tigre b-side than a Freezepop song. Just for kicks, here's one of my favorite tracks off the first album:
So color me surprised when I excitedly (I'm a glutton for disappointment, sure) listened to their new release Imaginary Friends and was just delighted. The band has both lost a member and gained two, and maybe that's what changed their sound. They sound like a "real" synthpop band now, giving up amateurishness without sacrificing that endearing quirkiness that makes Freezepop the band they are:
I grew up on Coney Island, sort of. In the two or three summers between being too old for summer camp and too young and lazy to get a job, my mother sent me to live with my grandmother for the summer months. My grandmother lived in projects housing right off the Coney Island boardwalk. Now, this wasn't the sort of projects housing with the potential to give birth to the next big hip-hop artist (that were across the street,) but rather a gated-off, white stone enclave with private parking and a doorman. Built abutting a geriatric rehabilitation center, this building was mostly occupied by senior citizens who, like my grandmother, had recently emigrated from the former Soviet Union. The building was clearly designed with seniors in mind – all the bathrooms, for instance, had emergency “oh god I fell, help!” pull-switches. Google Maps doesn't actually go down the block, so I've tried to highlight the building in the picture below. As you can see, it is right on the boardwalk.
I spent my time time wandering up and down that boardwalk. A 36.6 kb modem can keep a young man occupied for only so long, and I found myself regularly venturing out there with Pretty Hate Machine or Jimi Hendrix' Greatest Hits album blaring out of my walkman and into my ears via those cheap-ass foam covered headphones we all had at thirteen.
One early afternoon, wandering to the Stillwell Avenue train station to get to my programming class – I spent a couple days a week learning C++ and Unix at a front for a diploma mill – I came across a pair of Latina girls wandering on the boardwalk. We didn't speak or even acknowledge our mutual presences, but they had a little radio. The radio was blaring a song I did not, could not acknowledge loving the ever loving hell out of until my freshman year of college...
I love this song. I love everything about it. It even transcends by unnatural love for the genre apparently referred to as “bubblegum dance.” It defines my teenage summers on Coney Island for no other reason than being played at just the right place and moment.
...and apparently Freezepop covered it.
(There's no video, just a black screen.)