Charlotte Sands, Royal and the Serpent, Lilith Czar.
I have to confess—for the longest time I abhorred the youth. As a man of a certain age, I was not too interested in these up and comers trying to be “the deal” when I was still fully being “the deal.” But in my advanced years, I have grown a fondness for the youth of today, primarily in an elder role.
I work with several upwardly mobile young adults and they each fill my heart with hope for a better, brighter future. They also keep me young at heart by clueing me into the latest lingo. Where my generation—Gen X, the greatest generation ever—would say something cool was “wicked” or “fly,” this generation says “that slaps.” It makes no sense to me, but I am embracing the new ways and trying to make it my own – and failing.
Apparently there are no variations of this phrase. Something cannot be slaptastic, it can’t be slap-worthy, and it most definitely cannot be slaptacular. I dare not even mention slap-a-palooza in fear of it would evoke so many eyerolls they would be audible.
But I can roll with “that slaps” as the new phrase for being cool. Now if I could just get them to appreciate old school music that would be quite an achievement. When they were talking about the latest Super Bowl halftime show, I tried to tell them about much better hip hop such as The Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash to the sound of crickets. I have much work to do with the youth.
But in the meantime, please enjoy these five slapping hits.
Artist: LØLØ, Maggie Lindemann
Song: “debbie downer”
In A Word: Angsty
Music videos featuring cheerleaders have a special place in my heart. Videos like “Mickey” by Toni Basil, “Give Me All Your Luvin’” by Madonna, and of course “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana have always made their way to the front of the line for me. LØLØ and Maggie Lindemann take a cue from Nirvana by featuring a dark-sided cheerleader in their video for “debbie downer” and I am here for it. The song is catchy, the energy gets me pumped up, and the chorus is brilliant. Any song that channels Bring It On will always win my heart.
Artist: Royal & The Serpent
Song: “PHUCKBOI REJECTS”
In A Word: Introspective
Ryan Santiago is a prolific writer. She is a prime example of how much our generations have in common. Each of her lyrics in “PHUCKBOI REJECTS” hits home with me as it reminded me of myself in my twenties—which took place three decades ago. I was a hopeless romantic, in love with boys who exhibited toxic masculinity, and I was a magnet to narcissists. How could this young writer and I have so much in common? Are all men trash? Whatever the common denominator is, this song needs to be performed by a drag queen—quickly. Willow Pill, are you listening?
Artist: Charlotte Sands
Song: “Want You Like That”
In A Word: Bliss
I can’t decide which I like best about this song: the inviting vocals, the hard-edged rock beat, or the soul-searching lyrics. Oh hell, I love all of them and this track gives me life as I think about my beloved. What I love about Charlotte is she is an enigma to me. In the age of social media, I can find very little info about her and I am kind of okay with that. Her music should be the focal point and I want more.
Song: “Target Practice”
In A Word: Gothy
I think you can see a pattern in my choices for this column—strong, passionate lady singers. There is just something so vulnerable about this song that it stopped me in my tracks. While I thought the singer was gorgeous with her long blond locks, when she cut to the scene with her short blonde spikes, I audibly yelled, “Werq!” accompanied with wrist flourish and finger snaps. The song is simple in structure, but powerful in its lyrics. My mom had a friend named Cheryl and she always told me I was funny as fuck. Me and carloesdaughter are now bonded for life. Plus, the theme of “just be yourself” will always be a winning vibe. To top things off, this video also has amazing cheerleaders.
Artist: Lilith Czar
In A Word: Rage
I may be a bit late getting on the Lilith train, but I am glad I made the ride. Another powerful vocalist full of passion, giving this song every ounce of energy it deserves. This song will be playing on my way to work to get me pumped up. The rhythm is hard and heavy, the energy is undeniable, and those vocals are savage. Lilith is preaching honey and I am sopping her up with a biscuit. This is another song I will be forwarding to all my drag queens—it is that fierce.
Well kids, the boys will have to step up their game otherwise the future is female and I am good with that. As long as these young performers keep serving up songs like these, I will be here to support them.
You can hear these songs and others I have found by checking out my own curated playlist, “K-JIM 2022.” Feel free to share this playlist with your friends—it would really make my day.
And as always, please feel free to drop a note to me on Twitter @TheFoundFive | Jim Ryan
This column is dedicated to my friend Olivia who is going through it right now. I hope she finds some solace in these songs.