The band that thinks it’s hot

Brazilian band CSS merges pop and underground culture under one groove

by Keri Carlson

Throughout CSS’ debut album, the group, especially lead singer Lovefoxxx, keeps a cool, jaded disposition.

The Brazilian band whose initials stand for “cansei de ser sexy,” (Portuguese for “tired of being sexy”) sounds exactly that as their icy, disco-influenced no-wave punk mixes with Lovefoxxx’s snotty vocals.

Sometimes it’s really hard being young, adorable, arty hipsters.

But CSS know how to tow the line between sarcasm and actual hipness. Or maybe they know the two are often one and the same.

On the song “Art Bitch,” CSS – which includes several graphic designers and other art school grads – declare, “I ain’t no artist, I am an art bitch Ö I have no portfolio and I only show where there’s free alcohol.” CSS is clearly making fun of trendy art galleries and a high art pretension.

Yet the group itself is part of the stereotype. The five girls and one boy dress in a typical art-school chic of skinny jeans, Converse tennis shoes and vintage T-shirts.

More importantly, the music is similar to the trendy style of danceable rock music that embraces pop, disco and techno just as much as punk, noise and avant-garde. While this style has a sizeable following in the underground, such is the case with the DFA label, it has also reached pop radio with artists like Pink, Shakira and even Ashlee Simpson.

What CSS does rather brilliantly is unabashedly name-drop and copy. Whether the group sings “Let’s make love and listen to Death from Above” – referring to the hipster band Death from Above 1979 – or they sing about meeting Paris Hilton, it’s in the same tone. Both sound referenced for irony and for love.

Though the band is not the first to randomly, and seemingly unimportantly, shout out bits of art and culture, CSS illustrates the ever-blurred line between what is and is not ironic.

It could appear that the band mocks everything it encounters, from high art to Hilton. But even if that’s the case, at what point then does irony just become normal and automatic?

Either CSS hates everything equally or loves everything equally.