Friday, December 12, 2008


Sounds of 2008
11. The Ting Tings: That's Not My Name

Popular culture seems to confirm the fact that, in terms of sexual politics, we've come a long way since I was a teenager.

TV Shows like Britain's Life on Mars ironically mock the boozy sexism - up with which women had to put - of the seventies. In the USA, Sex and the City humorously explores the modern woman's uneasy rapprochement between independence, body clock and libido.

On the music scene, powerful women are everywhere. The stance of Third Wave 'Riot Grrl' bands like Bikini Kill has influenced mainstream rock. On the contemporary scene Li'l Kim, Beyonce, Amy Winehouse, Beth Ditto, and many more are highly visible, in-your-face performers.

Despite that, many of my generation - those who came of age during an era of issues-driven punk defined by Rock Against Racism and the raucous feminism of The Slits - have been dismayed by the lack of awareness displayed by many young British females.

Confusing yobbish dissolution with emancipation, they indulge in gross behavior such as binge drinking and sexual self-abasement, the latter shamelessly exploited by internet porn barons.

It's the noughties female equivalent of New Laddism - shallow, reactionary, and most unhelpful to the cause of women.

Matters aren't improved by the appallingly crass level of public discourse - chiefly male-driven - recently seen rearing its head on mainstream British TV.

Lewd and inappropriate comments chat host Jonathan Ross made to his 'guest' Gwyneth Paltrow were offensive and beyond the pale. Is this how women are to be addressed - in 2008 - in a public entertainment forum? Shameful.

Consciousness-raising is perhaps not what British indie popsters The Ting Tings are about - the title of their album is We Started Nothing.

The duo are far removed from grrl power - they're half male for a start - nevertheless I think I detect the hint of a feminist message in their catchy single That's Not My Name: "Are you calling me darling? Are you calling me bird?"

I'd like to see The Ting Tings become a tad more upfront about their sexual politics, since their schtick is neither subversive nor original enough - it rips off Toni Basil's Micky something rotten.

But I have to admit That's Not My Name has a contagious chorus which I wish I'd thought of first, and it's a track I've greatly enjoyed all year.

Video: That's Not My Name


spaewaif said...

I just pictured Devo singing this chorus as encore for their umpteenth reunion tour!
There are bits of Moloko's Rosin too.
I am always appalled at the lack of imagination for music videos.
The looks and visuals here seem to clash completely with any message the singer might be trying to get across.
To dispel any doubts,she lets her hair down...hmmm...

Shiffi Le Soy said...

And this is second vid I've seen for this song! Definitely get the devo thing now u mention it!