Friday Video: Elastica – “Connection” – Or, When the Bad Guys Win

I first heard of Elastica in 2001 or 2002, after the Strokes’ debut album came out and failed to save rock and roll. The Elastica-Strokes* connection was thrown around by critics who regarded both groups as rip-off artists, and coincidentally, it was a recent A.V. Club article about musical plagiarists that prompted me to finally listen to “Connection.” The band was accused of stealing the riff from Wire’s “Three Girl Rhumba” for their mid-’90s hit, which they obviously did. “Connection” was in turn sampled by Girl Talk, which makes it easier to think of the appropriation of “Three Girl Rhumba” as part of an almost natural process of pop cannibalizing itself. But it’s still stealing.

“Connection” is a not just an ethically-dubious pop song, it’s a weird one too. The Wire riff sounds only partially integrated into the song**, and the verse and chorus tacked together–the song’s component parts, both borrowed and original, don’t form anything terribly coherent. The video, meanwhile, invites viewers to enjoy Elastica’s music, but not too much–you can see how bored the band members are, right? With all that said, I’ve listened to “Connection” about a dozen times in the last week, and there is some part of me that wants to keep hearing this shameless Britpop Frankenstein’s monster. Maybe it’s the hand-claps at the end.

* The years been kind to stuff like “Someday”, which sounds more and more like a classic with age.

** It’s as if the members of Elastica almost want to get caught, which makes them sort of like a band of Riddlers, and me Batman. Perhaps this is the appeal.

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