Irony Man Lives Again


We’re totally living in the postmodern era. Like, have you seen Scream 3 and/or heard of the drum’n’bass collective Bad Company, not to be confused with the ’70s rock supergroup? (We studied ’em both in French class.) Well, as if these examples weren’t hall-of-mirrors self-reflexive enough, now there’s Diesel Boy, not to be confused with the drum’n’bass DJ.1 Diesel Boy (the band) employ obscure references like they’re Thomas Pynchon.2 To wit: “Tangled Up and Blew” (too witty—catch the Neil Young allusion?). To wit, two: “Alison’s Starting to Happen,” a Lemonheads cover, though they don’t tell ya (likewise, the Lemonheads’ claim to non-fame would be ripping off “Mrs. Robinson”). DB totally knock the ’heads via irony: like, singing all hoarse, not pretty like pretty-boy Evan Dando.

Two-bit to wit, too: “Emo Boy.” Also kinda about pretty you-know-whats, insofar as it utilizes feminizing discourse to rail at males who like passionate punk and not DB’s happy-go-sucky brand of fizzy-ism jizms. Negatively referencing emo has a long tradition in punk-pop and hardcore. Unfortunately, I can name only two earlier instances: Blink-182 have “Emo,” which offers no specific critique of the subgenre other than the fact that it kinda blows. And example two isn’t really an example, if one considers author’s intent (post-disco pomo doesn’t require it). “About-as-Emo-as-We’ll-Ever-Get-Song” is the name given to Propaghandi’s “Possibly the Worst Song Ever Written” by some kidding (or conflating) kidnapster. It isn’t the worst tune ever written (that’d be “Hotel California”), but that’s why they said “possibly.” Anyway, the not-DJ Diesel Boy boys’ buoyantly poo-poo-like poo-pooing of girly guys gets three separate band names (Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil, Modest Mouse) in, in under three minutes, not to mention mentions of a teen’s zine and his emo queen—the type, naturally, with barrettes in her hair. As long as she doesn’t have a thought in her head. Or, later, somebody else’s head in hand: “Guess I was just another dick, you were just another chick. I wonder what number you’re up to now” (from why-not-69 “65”). They’re so vain. I bet they think this song is about you.

1 Actually spelled “Dieselboy” (one word).

2 Made you look.