Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

With “Deceptacon,” Le Tigre captured the sound of youth in a song

In Hear ThisA.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we’re asking our writers to talk about a song that always reminds them of their own arrested development.

I liked a lot of music growing up, but nothing really takes me back to a place and time more than Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon.” A lot of kids were punks in high school and drove around smoking cigarettes in their gross cars, but I was a good girl. I was the president of every club, never broke rules, always got As, and I never mouthed off, lest my parents yell at me. (They wouldn’t have, but I didn’t know that at the time.) Thus my real period of rebellion came when I was in college, when I stayed up late, wore the same jeans for weeks at a time, and drank a lot of dollar beers long before I was 21.


Le Tigre’s self-titled full-length came out in the fall of 1999, right as I was getting to college. Although I don’t think I got hip to the record immediately upon moving into the dorms, it entered my musical consciousness fairly soon after. I can sing that whole record back to front, from “Deceptacon” to “Les And Ray,” and for my money, there are few dance tracks—and especially few socially conscious dance tracks—better than “Deceptacon.” The sound of Kathleen Hanna’s monotone “who took the bomp” going straight into that gritty guitar riff at the beginning just slays me, and every time I hear it, I’m immediately transported back to dark, dirty bars, overly crowded off-campus house parties, and dancing much too close to all my friends who didn’t wash their hair. Even the art-project dancing in the music video reminds me of a time when I had nothing but time on my hands and a fresh pair of Sauconys on my feet.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter