Don’t shoot me, but I was excited when I received a copy of the new Louis XIV album, The Best Little Secrets Are Kept in the mail. I was familiar with some of their music, namely the five songs that are on their “Illegal Tender” EP. Based on their EP, I was interested to hear what the rest of their music sounded like since I’d noticed a lot of people have been talking about them in the past few months.
I was on the fence over this band from the start–their songs seemed very radio-friendly, but I was kinda unsure as to the real value of their music (a la their tour-mates, The Killers). They seemed to have very slick production, but some of their lyrics (“Finding Out True Love Is Blind” in particular) seemed to have this horribly misogynist undertone to them. I also had real concern about them since they were from California, which has been a great breeding ground for bands that have a lot of style, but absolutely no remarkable musical substance. (Blame the palm trees and sandy beaches…and The Vue.)
I sat down at my computer and listened to the album as I did other things, like check my e-mail and surf the Web. After one full listen of the album, I came to the conclusion that Louis XIV are the musical equivalent of an ex-boyfriend: Even though you mildly hate them, you’re still somewhat drawn to them. But after you spend about an hour with them again, listening to them blab on about inane sh-t, you kinda get sick to your stomach and wonder why you even bothered. You vow never to subject yourself to that again, but sure enough, every once and a while you give them a spin again only to be further sickened by your inability to listen to the little voice in your head telling you to stop.
Musically, I feel really conflicted about Louis XIV. I do feel that some of their songs are very catchy, like “Hey Teacher” or “Louis XIV,” but just because something has an infectious quality doesn’t make it good. Case in point: Herpes. Also, there’s the whole misogynist undertone that I mentioned before. Basically half the songs on the album are about banging chicks. I realize that the guys of Louis XIV are aware of their overtly sexual lyrics, saying things like “I know I ain’t correct/ but politics are so much better when there’s sex” in “Paper Doll,” but frankly, their lyrics aren’t original or clever enough for me to be able to justify the crudeness of the content.
They do better when they’re not objectifying women, like on “God Killed the Queen” (where they objectify themselves, asking the woman to “Use me just to make your body feel right/If you want to take my body tonight”), but I still couldn’t help but feel a little grossed out after listening to the whole album. A similar feeling to when I’m looking at a bunch of Terry Richardson pictures. It’s hard to tell exactly when the fun and games stop and the unsettling views of the world begin.
I don’t want to get too deep into thought about this, even though I’ve probably spent too much time thinking about this as is. I mean it’s just music, right? All in all, I think Louis XIV are harmless, there isn’t going to be a mass destruction of social or political mores because of their music, and I’m sure it’s all supposed to be in good fun or whatever.
The songs on the album are perfectly fine to dance to, I could even see myself playing a few of them at a party. I kinda have to take all their music with a grain of salt. They’re hardly going to become the most influential (or even noteworthy) band of the century due to the fact that their music is in no way revolutionary or even evolutionary, but as of right now they give the kids with the glossy hair something to talk about, write about, and coo about…and that’s fine by me.