Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Lush’s “Ladykillers” was a feminist antidote to Britpop’s dude overload

Lush in 1994

In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: Songs from artists who have new music coming in 2016.

Lush, “Ladykillers” (1996)

At this point, band reunions shouldn’t be surprising, but Lush regrouping for tour dates (including Coachella) was completely unexpected. The U.K. shoegazers last performed live in September 1996, and split a few years later, devastated by the suicide of drummer Chris Acland and worn out by the rigors of the road. As of spring 2015, the band actually sounded ambivalent about getting back together: “There’s part of me that thinks that it would be nice or it would be fun,” vocalist/guitarist Miki Berenyi told Under The Radar. “I don’t know. I feel very confused about the issue, if I’m honest.”


To go along with this reunion, Lush is also releasing a comprehensive, five-CD boxed set called Chorus. (It’s already out in the U.K., but will be released in the U.S. on January 22.) The set includes studio albums and the rarities disc Topolino, along with demos, Peel Sessions, unreleased tracks, and covers, like the band’s spin on Wire’s “Mannequin” and gorgeous take on Elvis Costello’s “All This Useless Beauty.” Chorus traces the band’s shoegaze-hewing early days to its later years, which jettisoned noisier tendencies in favor of more streamlined pop.

Lush’s underrated 1996 swan song Lovelife exemplifies the latter, from the clever Jarvis Cocker duet “Ciao!” to the frothy dreampop of “500 (Shake Baby Shake).” But Lovelife‘s standout might be “Ladykillers,” a punky shot of Blondie-esque new wave that was a welcome antidote to Britpop’s masculine point of view. The song is one big eyeroll toward lame men: overly vain guys who try to lure women with condescending flattery; those who think that acting like a blowhard will get them laid; and dudes who think pitting women against each other or pursuing those who play hard to get is a good strategy. “Ladykillers” is a righteous feminist statement in which Lush reminds those with a Y chromosome that respecting women and treating them like smart, competent human beings is perhaps the best first step: “Save your breath for someone else and credit me with something more.”

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