Opening with discordant guitar and bass pulses punctuated by a kick drum before breaking into a perfectly imperfect disco beat, “Alala” was CSS’s second single from their international release of their debut album. Prima facie it’s a quasi nonsensical goof-off dance anthem from the mid 2000’s new rave scene – and y;know it totally works as just being that, but it’s also something much more – as was everything else about the original incarnation of Cansei de Ser Sexy.
It’s a meta self commentary of being part of the scene that they ended up being the poster-kids for. It’s about the desire of wanting to be included in a scene but at the same time feigning nonchalance; any scent of desire for acceptance would betray the illusion of cool-slacker-ness.
It plays desperate in it’s attempt to assure you it’s not desperate. And that, it feels, was very much the collective inhibition of that scene at the time – “‘Cause you know but you don’t wanna / ‘Cause you want but you can’t have it” – it was so desperately uncool (to even want) to be cool.
CSS were able to deconstruct that irony within a 4 minute pop song – “I wanna be in that crazy band or meuku” Lovefoxx absently refrains – meuku literally meaning “my asshole”, Brazilian slang for “I don’t care” – but more closely resembling the Americanism of “Whatever” (see United States of Whatever by Liam Lynch from a few years prior).
While most of the song is knowingly in cryptic / broken English, she later appeals “Alguém me avisa / Quando é bom parar/ De fazer a vítima – which is Portuguese for “Somebody(please) tell me / When I should / Stop making the intimate” which now, firsteen years later, feels like a prophetic allegory about the pressure to share your perfect life on social media.
Alala by CSS is, on first take just a fun silly song to dance to / shout back the lyrics of while doing Jager shots in 2006. Upon deeper investigation it’s a warning to be careful what you wish for. Being cool is for suckers.