Pansy Division – That’s So Gay
The kings of the American queercore scene, Pansy Division, celebrated twenty years of rock n roll with the release of a new album mixing their humorous lyrics with a strong shot of social commentary regarding the current state of Gay America. This is one of their most ambitious records to date in terms of lyrical content and sound.
The album gets going with “Twinkie Twinkie Little Star”, a humorous ode to “Twinkies”, gay slang for young-looking clean-cut guys. Musically, it’s in the same poppy Ramones vein that made the Pansy Division sound; loud guitars, bass and drums and the catchy lyrics of Jon Ginoli (“He’s in his PJ’s giving BJs to the DJs who play what he likes”).
“Average Men” will be a hit with fans of an older punk sound with more aggressive guitar riffs and guest lead vocals from Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys). The hardcore edge is what caught my attention, I mean the humorous lyrics are still there with Biafra leading a chant of “NASCAR, Bad Boys, Bud Light, Hooters!”, but the music itself is more akin to early California hardcore like Bad Religion, Black Flag and of course, the Dead Kennedys.
The first cut of explicit social commentary is the very melodic “Some of My Best Friends”, a track that mixes a strong pop sensibility with a serious message, in this case, deriding the casual homophobia that still permeates our society. It has one of the best lines of lyrics in the whole record, “I might not be gay, but I know this much is true, I’d rather fuck an asshole than be one just like you.” If it wasn’t for the explicit lyrics, this could be a pop-anthem. I personally think the Human Rights Campaign and other groups like it should embrace this song and make it the new anthem for the rising GLBTQ Rights Movement.
If Pansy Division laid out the foundation for a new social consciousness in their lyrics with “Some of My Best Friends”, they go straight for the throat with the title cut “That’s So Gay”, an angry neo-hardcore romp calling for solidarity in the gay community and the smashing of the homophobic in American society. This is the call to arms for the new militants in the Movement and as a militant myself, I love this cut.
But it’s not all serious, this is Pansy Division after all and there has to be that sense of humor, further explored on this record with “20 Years of Cock”, a track that has Jon Ginoli looking at his middle age with a great sense of humor, expressing it boldly, “I’m getting grayer, but feeling gayer!” And of course, there’s “Pat Me on the Ass”, a two-minute upbeat romp about a high school football player who just wants to win so that his teammates will, well pat him on the ass.
Pansy Division has struck gold with their latest record, mixing social commentary, a great sense of humor and new musical frontiers that prove that they’re still the kings of queercore. As far as I’m concerned, this record speaks more for the gay community than anything Lady Gaga will ever lay to tape.