CSS has beaten Paris Hilton to the punch. These five Brazilian girls (and one guy) have crafted the perfect mindless, sexy, pop culture-savvy, profanity-laden dance album, and got it out before America’s favorite socialite could.
I’m sure that most people who read this site absolutely despise Hilton, and I’m with you. I also haven’t heard any of Hilton’s music and it may not sound like this at all so don’t dismiss this album quite yet. The self-titled Cansei de Ser Sexy has a simple purpose, and with a partying mindset you may just think this is album of the year. It has big dance beats mixing real and programmed drumming, squeaky synth lines, simple post-punk guitars, and sassy female vocals. It also has a fun naiveté about it, as the six members of CSS were all artists in some form but had never picked up an instrument or been in a band. And the lyrics -- well, let’s just say they’re not mind-blowing, but who wants to think at a kegger, right? I could hear the chorus of “Alcohol” being a hit sing-along at hipper college parties all over: “So tell me / He-he-he-he-he-he-he-he-hey / Do you wanna drink some alcohol?” It’s so simple and stupid, it’s brilliant.
Formed in Sao Paulo in 2003, CSS wisely shortened their name from Cansei de Ser Sexy, which is Portuguese for “tired of being sexy.” Except for a few lines, you won’t need any more translations for this album, but you may need to check the lyrics because of singer Lovefoxxx’s accent. There are North American references abound in this album, like the abovementioned hotel heiress in “Meeting Paris Hilton,” a song that says ‘bitch’ probably 25 times, in some ways that don’t make much sense (“Do you like the bitch, bitch?”). CSS also reference recently defunct DFA79, in the best track “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above,” which alternates from the coolest groove in their arsenal to a squared up beat in a minor key which may be an homage to them but sounds more like the Faint. “Artbitch” is crude (“Lick Lick lick my art-tit / Suck suck suck my art-hole”) but mildly funny (“Call me revolutionar[y] / I poo on a plate and get it published on Visionaire”). The guitar-based “Off the Hook” has one of the few actual melodies (Lovefoxx usually just talks all sassy-like with a slight Karen O vibe) with some cool background ‘ahh-ooo’s and as a result is one of the most memorable tracks.
I’m really having trouble with this album. Most of you may pass this off as hipster garbage, but I think their location relieves them of some of those accusations -- however, they claim ‘the internet’ as their scene and not actually Sao Paulo. And perhaps hipsters exist in Brazil, especially with help of the web. But their inexperience and willingness to put it all out there counts for something in my book, and after much deliberation I give this score. Not incredibly original but fun nonetheless, and I’m sure it’s better than Hilton’s album.