Artist: The Teenagers Track: "Homecoming" Album: Reality Check Listen
Nothing on this album from French indie-rock group The Teenagers is as stark, unrelenting or straightforward as opening track "Homecoming," which deconstructs an international fling into the competing, very different desires of an English guy and an American girl.
Elsewhere on this very good record, the band wanders gleefully through the kind of synth-pop music you're likely to find on an '80s retrospective party mix. They're not bad at combining these bouncy, melodic style with a droll sense of humor and sardonic, spoken wordplay -- which sounds a lot like Mike Skinner on an unhealthy dose of ketamine.
But their first track is their best, their bleakest, their most nihilistic. Where one sees a lasting romance, the other sees only sex. One is completed, the other only sated. Millions of pop songs work by romanticizing and euphemizing even base desires, and this one works in the opposite way: Intimacy is painted as a desparate thing, the two involved are never on the same page, and the band doesn't mince words telling the story.
It's a genius song made even stronger because the wholly engaging, beautiful sounds encase what's essentially an uncomfortable -- often wholly terrible -- situation we've all been in. Relationships almost never work, and this song is a reminder both of that reality and why it is the way it is.