Thursday, February 16, 2012

12 O'Clock Track: Lotion, "Rock Chick"

Posted By on 02.16.12 at 12:00 PM

I don't know why Archers of Loaf made it and fellow 90s slackers Lotion didn't. The angsty pop-rock outfit was one of the most promising bands in New York in the middle of the decade: The Village Voice called their first album, Full Isaac, the best of 1994, and fanboy Thomas Pynchon wrote liner notes for their second, Nobody's Cool, which I've had on heavy rotation since I heard Lotion reunited in October. Because they disappeared for more than a decade after one more full-length in 1998, I feel like their story warrants a strip in the Secret History of New York Music or something.

Lotion takes a lot of the same subject matter as Archers of Loaf but gives it a kind of Daria twist. The band's songs tend to be more or less three to five minutes of tight drums and guitars that would feel grungier if it weren't for Tony Zajkowski whining about something off-putting, like "You think I'm sleeping when I peek and see your bra" or maybe a "monster truck of shame." Every song comes from the point of view of some guy (or in one case a dog) who wants someone he can't have. Despite the upbeat lilt of "Rock Chick," it's got metal-heavy subject matter—but as with a lot of Lotion's songs, there's something in the poppy arrangement that encourages you to look at disappointment with playful irony, not anger, and leaves you feeling a lot less helpless than the speaker is.

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