These days, the two styles of music I listen to most are “extreme” metal and Euro-derived pop. Those two sounds may seem at odds with one another, but there’s a bunch of places where they sorta cross over, too. For instance: My man Max Martin (and his man Shellback) came up playing in Swedish metal bands. Meanwhile, Swedish metal bands were among the very first to bring huge pop hooks to extreme metal. (Yeah they did. Go listen to some old Entombed or At The Gates or In Flames or Dissection…) But I can’t recall the two neighboring worlds ever colliding quite like this before. LCMDF are a Finnish female pop duo whose new single, “Rookie,” openly decries their country’s male-dominated metal culture. The hook goes: “I’m so done with the metal scene/ I’m so done with dudes who think they’re better than me.”
Metal is huge in Finland, of course, just as it is in Sweden and Norway. And Finland produces lots of GREAT metal bands. But there aren’t too many women in those bands. That’s not unique to either Finland or the whole of Scandinavia: There’s an undeniable gender disparity in metal around the world, and it’s a subject of tremendous scrutiny. As it should be! It is not, however, the subject of too many riotously infectious pop songs. Well here’s one. “Rookie” sounds a lot like Ke$ha, but I love Ke$ha, and if the similarity is intentional — a tribute to another embattled woman in the music industry, perhaps? — then all the better. Even if the sonic similarity is purely coincidental, the lyrical issues raised by LCDMF’s Emma Kemppainen overlap more than a little bit with the issues faced by Ke$ha. Kemppainen explained the genesis of “Rookie” (is that title a tribute too, perhaps?) to Line Of Best Fit:
I wrote this song the day after a music biz dude told me that I shouldn’t write good songs, but make them more stupid. Then he offered to re-write our album. I thought that was the worst idea ever, so I wrote a song to him … The metal scene I’m singing about represents the old-school male dominated music business in Finland. I’m done with the fact that several music festivals don’t book a single female act. I’m done with being compared solely with other female acts.
I’d like this song a whole lot even if the lyrics were nothing more than Max Martin-esque nonsense-rhyme, but Kemppainen isn’t dealing in nonsense here, and I love this song. Listen.