Worst single of the year 2008: Skint and Demoralised – Red Lipstick
May as well let you know in advance: IchLugeBullets.com isn’t going to bother with 500 year end posts, a slow countdown of our favourite albums of the years, or endless pen essays on “What 2008 meant to me”. 2008 can basically be summed down to me with the phrases “Detroit neo-backpacker rap is the best genre out there right now”, “The Indelicates are great” and “It’s fun to do impressions of DJ Khaled”. That’s your 2008 rap up right there, word to Skillz. We will, however, make an exception to pay tribute to this year’s shittiest release: “Red Lipstick” by Skint and Demoralised.
The process of picking a “worst single of the year” in twelve-month stretches where Jason Mraz or Incubus haven’t dropped a record is always tricky. There’s usually a desire to take on a scene or a movement, or make the song you’re lambasting representative of a greater evil. Back when Stylus existed we put Elephant Man’s “Pon The River” in a year-end “worst singles” list, as if that was someone going to make EM reconsider the foolishness of his homophobic ways and do a joint tour with Rufus Wainwright or something. If we were to take this route, deserved candidates for the worst single of the year award would be Kid Cudi’s “Night and Day” (represents the slow metamorphosis of rap music from the greatest achievement of Western Society to some dayglo bullshit for fashion magazine interns); Florence and the Machine’s “Kiss With A Fist” (represents all those gangs of Quirky! Arty! Girl! acts that are swarming the lower end of the charts like cicadas. This is why Pakistani families tend to beat the shit out of their daughter and make sure she never leaves the house, because otherwise you get Bat For Lashes), or Noah and the Whale’s “5 Years Time (represents music for cunts by cunts). And they’d all deserve it: awful songs by awful excuses for human beings.
“Red Lipstick” by Skint and Demoralised doesn’t represent a bad movement. It doesn’t belong to a wave of similarly awful acts. It doesn’t have a reprehensible mindset behind it. And the first time I heard it, it made me grin really broadly. It cheered me up: Steve Lamacq played it on his Radio 6 show, and it made me smile that ten years after I first started listening to Lammo, he’s still playing absolutely clueless whiteboy indie rackets by chancers who simply don’t deserve the slightest shot at fame. It really was endearing.
Skint and Demoralised are some bullshit, f’real. The world barely has any use for the actual Hard-Fi nowadays, let alone Hard-Fi after taking an evening college course in creative writing. S&D provide the best argument yet for tarmacking over everything in England that’s north of Derby. This song is a massive celebration of all that’s bad about the north, self satisfaction, the smug condoning of mediocrity, the refusal to change for the better as if that’s something to be proud of, and the chorus that celebrates a girl’s backwards, pig-simple tastes as if that makes her more Real than someone who isn’t a fucking cretin. “I like girls that like their trends/ Not chasing blokes or fashion trends” says our frontman, coming across to all the world like DP Gumby in a leather jacket, somehow thinking that he’d ever even get close to a missus who shops at anywhere above, say, a skip.
Nothing about this song warrants any score above 0/10. The backing is anorexic, the vocals have bulimia. The chorus sounds like a primary school contest to create “a song that sounds like the Fratellis”. At least the choruses make it to upper school level, although even the most bodrick of acne-ridden 14-year-old shut-ins could scribble something better than “Your face goes blank, like you’re trying to test us/ And I’ve used my bank of romantic gestures” in their jotter. And the group’s keyboard looks like a man. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
So, congratulations to Skint and Demoralised, you made my year just that little bit worse. The runner-up for worst song of the year goes to my flatmate who insists on singing to himself when he does the washing up, but doesn’t bother to sing any songs he knows, so apparently Marc Bolan wrote a song that had a chorus that went “Get it on, get it on, get it on, get it on”. Good work all round.
SPECIAL BONUS MATERIAL
The fucking video: