Brazilian export Cansei de Ser Sexy, a six-member post-dance-punk band who took their name from a Beyoncé quote about feeling “tired of being sexy,” have claimed that they don’t have a proper “scene” of their own in São Paulo and that “the internet is [their] scene.” Validating the bloggers’ tastes has proven to be a smart marketing strategy. First conquering the Brazilian equivalent of MySpace, CSS and their first single, “Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above,” have already been championed by many of the most influential music blogs here in the U.S. in anticipation of their self-titled debut.
Like former blog darlings Annie and M.I.A., CSS doesn’t have an obvious analogue on either the mainstream or indie-pop scenes. What the band does have are an aesthetic that’s unabashedly lo-fi and a strong enough ear for pop melody to sustain their burgeoning hipster cred. Of course, what’s been lost in all of the discussion of how the blogosphere has changed the way music is marketed is the fact that there’s a huge disconnect between what’s perceived to be “popular” on the Internet and what’s actually “popular” in the flesh-and-blood world. The downside of being Annie or M.I.A. is that, for all of the online hype, you only manage to sell tens of records. That CSS are easier to dismiss as a novelty act upon first impression than either Annie or M.I.A. makes their commercial prospects, even with support from a high profile indie label like Sub Pop, difficult to gauge.
There’s not a song on the album that isn’t catchy as all hell, but there are times when CSS, who’ve only been playing their instruments for three years and whose command of English yields song titles like “Fuck Off Is Not The Only Thing You Have To Show,” sound like Cibo Matto performing covers of The Shaggs. That the album’s most deliberately hilarious line, “Do you like the bitch, bitch?” (from, obviously, “Meeting Paris Hilton”) lost some of its impact to a beaten-to-death outburst on Bravo’s Top Chef doesn’t really hurt considering the amount of random pop-culture minutia that’s referenced, and whatever genuine insights turn up—like the scathing, “I have no portfolio and I only show where there’s free alcohol,” on “Artbitch”—often seem like happy accidents. What holds it all together, besides the beats provided by Adriano Cintra (the band’s drummer, producer, and only male), is the band’s relentless enthusiasm.
Other, infinitely bigger pop stars may claim that they’re over being sexy or that they’re trying to bring sexy back, but only a band like CSS could shut them both up with a song like the wicked “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex.” It captures the charm of Cansei de Ser Sexy as well as anything, and, for all of the butchered syntax on the album, it suggests that CSS are too self-aware to be deemed a novelty and that the blog kids have found another act that lives up to their considerable hype.