The Teenagers: Anatomy of a Buzz

Let’s be honest — plenty of times, new-band buzz builds from the outside and works its way into media outlets. Like that year everybody who went to SXSW was forced to see Bloc Party play about seventeen times. Or when the hype around Black Kids heated up so damned fast that the bloggy backlash had started before the rest of us were done playing catch-up. But sometimes, just sometimes, a kind of consensus about a new artist builds from within in a way that’s so organic it’s a little creepy.

Case in point, the infiltration of the MTV News department by The Teenagers:

From: Fraenkel, Jim
To: Alex Mar
Subject: The Teenagers
So when these emails came, I was in my office listening to the Teenagers on my iPod. And Conor Bezane’s Facebook status read “I’m really into the Teenagers.” Just scroll down…

From: Norris, John
To: Fraenkel, Jim
CC: Montgomery, James; Bezane, Conor; Kennedy, Brendan
Subject: The Teenagers

Not since a drunk Serge Gainsbourg turned to Whitney Houston on Michel Drucker’s talk show in 1984 and said about the young singer “I really want to f— her” has an American experienced anything from France as delightfully raunchy as The Teenagers. James already gave em love in last week’s BTTS, and now I would love it if we could do something video-wise with them as well.

Their songs — “Starlett Johansson,” the genius “F— Nicole,” and of course the “Summer Nights” gone vulgar guy-girl singalong of “Homecoming” — may require quite a lot of bleeping on our part, but they are priceless….

Let me know what you think….Merci bien, et vive les Teenagers….

P.S. Oh yeah, Conor and Brendan are also big fans, so I copied them on this as well.


From: Montgomery, James
To: Fraenkel, Jim; Norris, John; Bezane, Conor; Kennedy, Brendan
Subject: RE: The Teenagers

This is a really long email about a really good band.

Like I wrote in Bigger Than The Sound last week:

1. The Teenagers’ Reality Check: An album’s worth of ultra-profane Euro-pop about sex and partying and every European male’s favorite hobby: seducing awestruck American girls. Plus a song that pokes fun at Jared Leto! If you hate the French (or cheerleaders), then “Homecoming” just might be the song you’ve waited your whole life for. And if you’ve ever found yourself wondering what Pulp would sound like if they were fronted by an effeminate, debased French dude, well, now you’ve got your answer.

James Montgomery

Then there was my recent e-chat with James, trying to figure this all out:

AM: So wait — why do you like them?

JM: Some people here read WAAAAAAAY too much into them, but basically I think their album sounds like US Weekly/OK!/E!-The Musical.

AM: Whoa. That’s a great way of putting it. Although I do believe that Pulp were way better.

JM: Oh yah, WAAAAAY better for sure. Also, I am like 90% sure that the Teenagers are a complete joke and we’re all falling for it. Like, they’re not trying at all.

AM: Um, yeah, I kind of agree with that. We’re going to find out that the singer is actually James Murphy filtered through some crazy kind of French vocoder.

Videos from the Teenagers after the jump — including their French-stalker ode to Scarlett Johansson. Totally worth it…and a little bit NSFW.

The very, very excellent clip for “Homecoming”:

This clip for “Starlett Johansson” turns the panties opening of Lost in Translation into something epic:

Your daily dose
of the latest news

Get the MTV News app today.