Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando is a bit addicted to this pop star
(and doesn’t think she’s toxic).
THE LEMONHEADS FRONTMAN THINKS THERE’S
NOTHING TOXIC ABOUT POP MUSIC.
THE FIRST TIME I HEARD BRITNEY SPEARS’ ‘TOXIC’ WAS WHILE WE WERE MAKING THE SELF-TITLED THE LEMONHEADS RECORD, IN 2006.
I think it was Bill Stevenson from the Descendents and Black Flag who said how much he liked that song, so I gave it a listen.
I remember loving the Stevie Wonder-ishness of it. It has that really good melody: “Dah dah ah ra da ra rah.” It was pretty immediate, and while it’s definitely more surface than substance, there’s just something to the song that I can really appreciate.
I’ve never seen Britney perform, and to be honest I’ve never even really thought about her as a musician. It sounds funny, but she actually seems more like a political figure to me. She seems like a smart woman; she’s survived this long in the industry – and in fact, she’s thrived. I’m sure she would probably be way better as president than who we currently have. You laugh, but my god, it’s not that far from the truth. There’s definitely some escapism involved in listening to pop; you can put yourself in the best pop songs. When I was young, I’d listen to those songs and think, “That’s me.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I think people get far too het up about being cool. I figured it out in grade 10 that you can’t worry about what’s cool; you just gotta like what you like. My tastes are all over the place, in lots of little nooks and crannies. Even if you don’t like their music, an artist can have a couple of great songs.
I really liked ‘Hot Legs’ by Rod Stewart back when I was a kid. And now I think some Justin Timberlake stuff is really good too, though I don’t really know any of the names. Same deal with Miley Cyrus. I like that song she did with Ludacris, the one that goes “Red cups and sweaty bodies everywhere, hands in the air like we don’t care…” That’s a real guilty pleasure.
People said the internet would kill music, but it really hasn’t. There are still new bands coming through all the time. The music scene is really healthy, even if a lot of what’s coming out is heavily influenced by what came before. Nostalgia can be a really powerful force. You know when you’re 12 years old and you listen to music and it does something to you? I always think that music is like your sense of smell, how it is so evocative of specific memories. Just like the smell of your grandparents’ garage takes you back in time, music is exactly the same. They should test that theory out with some scientists.
These days I keep busy working on new stuff, out in Martha’s Vineyard, an island in New England. It’s very remote; you can see the stars and really make noise out here. Maybe we should try covering ‘Toxic’. It would be a challenge to work into the set, though it obviously wouldn’t be our only cover. After 30 years I still love playing the old Lemonheads songs, but never ‘Mrs Robinson’. That was just some freak thing that happened, but I can’t complain.
Evan Dando is an American singer-songwriter and frontman of alt-rock outfit the Lemonheads.