Review Summary: Thank you for nothing, bitch.
Avenue D bring you their homemade brand of all-American smut with their record As Free As We Wanna Be
. As the title suggests, the group meshes American culture with their own idea of “being free”; free to do whatever, and whoever, they please. Similarly, they released an EP called Eurawesome!
during the same year, which uses the same formula but throws Europe into the equation. Despite using themes however, their image as proud American sluts is as flamboyant as ever. With explicitly sexual lyrics filling this short album, they manage to slip themselves into a metaphor for one-night stands: quick, fun for a brief moment, dirty, void of any meaning, and leaving little to no reason to come back.
Like their peers in the electroclash genre, Avenue D love to have fun, and write songs accordingly. Their idea of fun is having sex, and lots of it. They succeed in setting up a slutty image and backing it up with fitting vocals and lyrics, though they still don’t quite deviate themselves. Vocals are the main focus, but there are some catchy electronic backdrops worth mentioning, found on “My Dirty South” and “The Wanderer”. It’s all par for the genre though, so nothing really stands out. The vocal work by Daphne and Debbie D fits fine with the music and sexual nature of the album; it’s completely carnal, there’s nothing sensual or romantic about it. But as a result, neither of their vocals are really arousing, and when the songs are trying to be, the vocals fall behind.
As said above, As Free As We Wanna Be
incorporates America into their loose lifestyles. In the beginning, this proves to be an effective way to present their erotic sound in a more interesting way and works in the album’s favor. The intro sets up the American tone for the album, and “U.S.A.=#1” is a decently catchy, non-vulgar song. “My Dirty South” is one of the better tracks overall, fusing electronic melodies with banjo, and some crafty (often funny) lyrics about sex with guys in the south.
“Hell, I don't care if he's inbred
if his dick is hard and he gives good head.”
The vulgarity wears thin by the end of the record however, and most tracks just bore. Everything past “My Dirty South” borders complete garbage, with virtually no substance whatsoever. The lack of the punk influence that keeps this genre danceable really hurts an album begging to be played at parties. Without danceability, you’re left with a misfit sound, a sound that doesn’t grab what it’s reaching for and ends up wallowing in its mundane lust. And even though the album really doesn’t need to be any longer than it is, you can’t help but sense a lack of effort from Debbie and Daphne. Songs are simplistic and void of passion, the kind of passion that at least tries to sound tempting in tone like sexual things should. It’s like sex without foreplay; full-on raunchiness thrown in your face. As a result there’s little satisfaction to be found here, even for a lustful demographic. While using the American theme used as a crutch proves to be interesting enough, it’s sadly not used enough to keep the album from sinking.