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This is why we can’t have nice things: The new lineup of The Pipettes.

June 20, 2010

Once upon a time there were three young women – Gwenno, RiotBecki and Rosay – who fronted a band know as  The Pipettes and they took the 60s girl group formula, put a modern spin on it – including some refreshing embracing of sexuality and sex positivity – and won my heart and ears with their debut album We Are The Pipettes. The disc was full of glittering pop gems like the brilliant “Pull Shapes” seen here as an equally brilliant music video based on a scene (and containing some actual footage) from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

And then there was “Judy”, a paean to a rebellious bad girl that The Pipettes equally idolize and worry about given her naughty ways and such. A sort of bubblegum pop take on Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl”, if you will.

Delightful, no? The Pipettes were a post-modern pop dream come true – owing as much to The Ronettes, The Supremes or The Shangri-Las as they did to their British foremothers, Bananarama what with their dramatic hand movements and winking, playful ways. And they were so joyful! It was refreshing to see this kind of shamelessly fun and frolicsome pop in a world full of overly serious Britneys, Christinas, Rihannas and Beyonces. I had the good fortune of seeing them live on two different occasions here in San Francisco and their shows were even more fun than their studio album and videos. They had fantastic voices live, cheeky dance moves and seemed to be having a blast and a half and their backing band killed it.

But then in the spring of 2008 it was announced that the group that had recorded the original album, made those fantastic videos and wore all those fantastic polka-dot outfits were breaking up, with Rosay and RiotBecki leaving the group to pursue other musical projects. And so, in turn, my heart was breaking. How could I be losing such a wondrous pop group after only one album? How would I possibly go on?! I had already had to go through Siobhan Fahey leaving Bananarama and now this? How many times could a trio of singing Englishwomen hurt me so?? Sure, there were attempts at adding new members. But we all remember how that went when the ‘Rams added poor Jacquie O’Sullivan and proceeded to shove her in the back of every single music video. And the lineups for the new version of The Pipettes never seemed to take hold long enough to record new music. So I officially let them become a now defunct band in my mind and enjoyed their sadly limited output with tears in my eyes.

And then, just today, I thought I’d happen by their official site and see if anything had ever come of their post-“Pull Shapes” existence. And it turns out, something had indeed. They have become a duo, with Gwenno and her sister Ani fronting the new incarnation of The Pipettes. And they have an EP out and a video for their single posted. Dare I listen? Would they carry on the torch of girl-group wonderfulness? Or would they decide to venture forth into some other genre and, in doing so, break my heart just a little bit more? Well, I’m sure you can guess if you’ve read the title of this post. Take a look and a listen.

Retro disco?! WHY JESUS, WHY?!?! From the magic of “Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me” to something that sounds like it landed in their laps after Kylie (like you need a link), Annie and Girls Aloud all said “thanks but no thanks”?! This was an even worse idea than when Bananarama (now reduced to a duo) and their producers decided they should try to sound like ABBA. Tragicomic!!! But at least the Bananas had a good long run of pop sorcery before they descended into bleh-dom. The poor Pipettes barely had left their pop culture footprint before doom befell them. But I suppose that’s the way of our hyper-fast, internet-driven music world now. And at least I can cherish the good music they did make and the memories of their splendiferous live shows. But seriously, that video was just horrible. It was all over the place. And kind of hipstery. Ugh. Anyway, one last pallet-cleanser of a song before you go.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2010 8:14 pm

    Omg, please say you’d entertain reposting this on IFMiB!!! This is the essence of “This is why we can’t have nice things”. The Pipettes blew my mind with Matthew Modine and those hilariously trashy lyrics. They were my summer soundtrack a few years back and I was eagerly anticipating something new from the crew. Are the Pipettes fooling around with Stock, Aiken and Waterman???

    Now I love me a band “going disco” for a track or two, but the arrangement must stipulate the band go back to whatever they did before afterwards. They cannot stay in boogie wonderland. It’s not permanent housing, it’s temporary.

    Oh Bananarama! There’s song “Dance with a stranger” is my JAM!!!

    • June 20, 2010 10:43 pm

      Oh crap, I didn’t mean to gank a title thingy from IFMiB! And I also didn’t actually reply with my last comment! Why does WordPress only show the reply option sometimes?

      • June 20, 2010 11:00 pm

        No! Definitely, want more people to use it to call out shittastic behavior! Having nice things is the goal!

  2. June 20, 2010 8:52 pm

    I would be totally honored to have this reposted in IFMiB! I love that blog.

    I don’t think they’re in bed with SAW but they had some lineup changes with the backing band/musicians they originally played and wrote with. And I totally agree on the short-term visit to the house of disco. If you do it for ore than a track or two it just turns into a total cheese-fest!

    Ah, “Dance With a Stranger” – so good!!

  3. jimmy permalink
    June 21, 2010 4:44 am

    I didn’t mind that the two women left the band, that’s part of the shtick of having a band like this where it’s supposed to be an assembly line product which calls out the manufactured nature of the pop experience.

    But I cannot forgive how awful the new music is. Ugh.

  4. June 21, 2010 7:32 am

    Go investigate The Like and I bet they’ll fill that Pipettes-shaped hole in your heart.

    • June 21, 2010 8:15 am

      Oh, they are really good! And I love that they play all their instruments too. I may be in new love! Thanks Kurt!!

    • June 21, 2010 8:38 pm

      oh my godfathers, I LOVE The Like! I love their lead singers sweet voice. Didn’t they have a lineup change too? Hi, I’m old and trying to be “with” it. June Gloom rocked me!


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