Wednesday, August 19, 2009

43. The Magnetic Fields "California Girls" (2008)

The classic image of the California girl--blonde, buxom, carefree--has come a long way since the Beach Boys sang their ode to her. Today, we imagine the hedonistic debauchery of the Lindsay Lohans of the world, not the innocent girl-next-door qualities of the Annette Funicellos.

They have, rightfully, become the objects of derision and scorn. The Magnetic Fields' "California Girls" is a nasty, pretty ode to these California girls. Full of derision and scorn.
They ain't broke, so they put on airs,
the faux folks sans derrieres
They breathe coke and have affairs
with each passing rock star
They come on like squares
then get off like squirrels
I hate California girls
Singer Shirley Simms' gleeful delivery softens these withering lyrics, which makes the song seem sunnier than it ought to.

My only quibble is the song's production, which is fuzzy and reverb-soaked. (The live, unmuddied, version of this song is far superior.) But this is a minor complaint. "California Girls" is irresistible pop, even obscured with noise.

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[Note: the below video is not official. I have no idea why it's so focused on Gwen Stefani. She is no Lindsay Lohan.]