6:13 min • Lookout! Records • January, 1996
Walter Beck reviews
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Pansy Division released this seven-inch single on Lookout Records, featuring three tracks from Jon Ginoli (guitar, lead vocals), Chris Freeman (bass, vocals) and Dustin Donaldson (drums). Pairing up one original number with a couple of good and silly cover songs, Jon and the boys take a humorous stab at love, lust, and loneliness, backed with their signature brand of poppy punk rock.
The A-Side of the single features the title track ‘Valentine’s Day’, the only original on this release. Soaked in Pansy Division’s signature sauce of pop-flavored power chord punk rock, backed with Ginoli’s snarky humor, the title cut tells the story of what should really be called ‘Single Awareness Day’ as Jon sings about the nice dinner he prepared, but how lonely he really feels because he has no one to share it with.
It’s gonna be a special date,
A day to celebrate,
But I think I’d have more fun,
If I was cooking for more than one –
It’s the refrain that really cuts close to the bone, with Jon’s loneliness and the sense of humor he uses to keep his sanity throughout the year.
I guess Cupid’s got bad aim,
‘Cause every year’s the same,
Another day to feel forgotten,
Another occasion to make you feel rotten –
If Jon and the boys are lonely on Valentine’s Day, the B-Side of the 7-inch shows them to be in a much more light-hearted mood and still on the look for love and romance. It features a couple of obscure cover songs originally performed by Josie Cotton and Depeche Mode.
‘He Could Be the One’ (Josie Cotton) is the first cover. The band keeps the basic structure and rhythm of the original, but replaces Cotton’s synthetic new wave sound with their rip-roaring punk rock noise. It injects a sweaty energy to the song, with Jon and Chris shredding through the lyrics at frantic pace, passionately intoning,
He could be the one (I like his style).
He could be the one (love’s on trial).
He could be the one to make it all worth while (yeah) –
The band keeps their new wave fascination on this single with ‘Pretty Boy (What’s Your Name?)’ (Depeche Mode) and while the song is certainly dripping with Pansy Division’s three-chord queer rock ‘n’ roll, there’s a strong ’60s pop rhythm underneath, almost Beach Boys like in a way, especially with Dustin Donaldson’s popping drum work in the intro and throughout the track.
It doesn’t seem the band is out for love with this one, just someone to spend a hot sweaty night with,
All the boys have got to get together.
All the boys together in one bed.
Down below, here we go,
Show the things we need to show.
Hey you’re such a pretty boy –
This is a pretty good seven-inch single and definitely a worthy one to have in your record collection. If it’s Valentine’s Day and you’re single and lonely (like your writer here), crack a bottle of cheap champagne for one and give it a spin to rock ‘n’ roll your broken heart away.