Everybody acts like prettyboy bubble-rap trio LFO’s “Summer Girls,” biggest-selling single in the land last week, is all non sequiturs. But to me, it’s clearly nostalgia for the ’80s, where almost all of LFO’s cultural references come from. Two tykes loved-then-lost back when “New Kids on the Block had a buncha hits”(in the same way that “Billy Shakespeare wrote a buncha sonnets”!)–teenypop with a sense of historical lineage, how rare is that? A Donnie Wahlberg disciple from the blueblood pavements of Boston, leading man Rich Cronin prefers his summer babes preppy–repeatedly plugs Abercrombie & Fitch–and the one he’s mooning over today, the Larry-Bird-jersey-clad one whose dad left when she was four, chugs Cherry Coke like a Savage Garden fan. Like the Beasties in ’86, LFO promise to steal your honey like they stole your bike. And like no one else this June-July-August, they’ve captured summer’s mood: Their smash recalls, more than anything else, its fellow New Edition?namechecking “Around the Way Girl,” by L.L. Cool J.
The plot obsesses on hotties who “stop by for summer” (cute pun: “sum’er worthwhile and sum’er so-so”); maybe we’re in a shore town. (Or Disneyland! LFO are based in Orlando, capital of boybanddom.) Summerland, Everclear called it once: an imaginary utopia chronicled best in Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town,” Everclear’s cover of which has just begun to reach radio. As Greil Marcus noted upon its 1976 release, “Boys Are Back” is the stuff of Golden Bough?level myth, since it almost seems Lizzy’s boys (just like LFO’s girls now?) are capable of bringing summer with them. History’s greatest Springsteen rip, Thin Lizzy’s version had, in its vocals and rhythm, soul music that Everclear entirely whitewash out. They slow the tempo, too, so the song fits right into their consistently profound string of new-wavish hits. Metallica’s already scored with a better Lizzy remake this year. But Everclear’s clientele at Dino’s Bar and Grill are still dressed to kill, and the jukebox in the corner still blasts out your favorite song, which may or may not be by NKOTB. Whose screaming minions–LFO’s old summergirlfriends–by now are hanging downtown, driving all the old men crazy.