DJ Marion Hodges on UK’s This Many Boyfriends

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From DJ Marion Hodges:

This Many boyfriends“I Don’t Like You (Cos You Don’t Like the Pastels)” is one of my favorites songs of the year.  This song from Leeds-based indie pop band This Many Boyfriends (which you can download for free here) is endlessly catchy and just begging to be shouted along to. But even better, it has me thinking a lot about one of my favorite pop song traditions:  The joke song.

A good joke song is a very tricky thing to pull off — it has to strike a perfect balance between ridiculously clever, and flat out ridiculous, like “Formed a Band” by Art Brut.

“I’m gonna write a song
As universal as Happy Birthday
That’s gonna make sure
That everybody knows
That everything’s gonna be ok
I’m gonna take that song
And we’re gonna play it
Eight weeks in a row on Top of the Pops

Formed a band
We formed a band
Look at us”

Nothing thrills me more than thinking to myself at multiple points during a song, “Ah, that’s so simple and good! Why didn’t I come up with that?” Of course I probably couldn’t ever come up with it  — if I could, I’d be a songwriter.

It’s that very subtle way certain artists have of coming up with lines that seem like they could be written by anybody, but in fact can only ever be pulled off by a select few.

“I Don’t Like You (Cos You Don’t Like the Pastels)” is relatable whether you understand the particular references in the song or not.  I realize that not everyone who hears this song would feel the narrator’s pain over his crush taking a hammer to a copy of “Truck, Train, Tractor,” but replace that title with “Pet Sounds,” “Ziggy Stardust,” or “O.K. Computer” and it’s likely to be a very different story.

Ultimately though, the best joke songs are just plain fun to hear; they move fast, they make you smile, and they’re over before you’ve even had a chance to take it all in.  What more could you really ask from any pop song?

Marion Hodges


Formed a Band by Art Brut