Thursday, May 08, 2003


5. Sloan is one of my pet underrated pop bands (hardly a description wet with specificity, seeing as every band of wise guys following the big star towards one Rickenbacher-bedecked manger or another is bound to be considered underrated, seeing as none of them, in point of fact, rate with anyone but self-righteous neo-retro zine mavens and their ilk - with each passing month, the name The Big Takeover drifts deeper into the sea of wishful thinking), and "Penpals" is about as charming as they come. Whether this was their intent is anybody's guess (except theirs, of course, but I can't afford to call direct to Nova Scotia on a shepherd's salary), but to me, this plays like a sly derivation on the classic "We're really huge in Belgium" claim made by pop prophets without profit in their own land since time immemorial (or at least 1966). Written as a series of letters in humorously but endearingly broken English, it's a reminder of how even modest achievements can ripple out to all corners of the world. Something that surely comforted Sloan as they recorded their doomed major-label debut even as it comforts me now, though I don't imagine I'll ever get a letter from someone reading "I am crazy love you." Well, I did get an e-mail like that once. But I still didn't buy their Sta-Rig-Id cream or download the horny young palentologist MPEGs like they wanted me to. Love has its limits.

More soon...

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