Pansy Division: “That’s so Gay” Album Review

Written By: Aaron Snyder

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Anyone who’s been around the gay scene for any period of time has probably heard Pansy Division in some form or another. Their pop punk-ish sound that has been around since the early 90’s and is reminiscent of a bunch of those other late 80’s early 90’s punk bands. However, they carved a niche for themselves with their overtly sexual lyrics and gay lyrics. Their hardcore sound has evolved over the years, though the baseline of a strong drumline and loud guitar with scratchy spoken-word vocals has not changed much over the years. This is pretty evident in their 2009 album “That’s So Gay”.

There isn’t much heft in their music or variation of the theme. The album is a pretty standard 40 minutes of a similar drums and guitar background with words that are sang/spoke with similar choruses. It’s not ground breaking musically, but the lyrics are what really sets pansy division apart. The sexually charged lyrics really make this band an absolute joy to listen to. Lines like “Pull your legs back/Show me what I’m hoping to find” make me smile every time. They capture what it’s like to be a gay man in “the scene” pretty accurately. This is illustrated pretty well in “Dirty Young Man” and “Twinkie Twinkie Little Star”, songs about just a few of the archetypes in the gay male community.

It’s not all just sex either! There’s great political and social overtones throughout the album. “That’s so Gay” eludes to the bash-back movement, which is not really sang about by any of our mainstream queer artists. The song “20 Years of Cock” is celebrating getting older and being sexual as a gay man by taking as much cock as possible, and pretty much never stopping taking that cock. What’s not to love? “Obsessed with Me” is a political statement aimed at all the male republicans that have been caught sleeping with guys in bathrooms, despite their open hatred of other queer men.

There are a few surprising gems in the album as well. “You’ll See Them Again” pleasantly took me by surprise. It’s a softer song that any of us who are old enough to have ex’s that moved on have experienced this. It’s a refreshingly serious song in a series of more lighthearted songs. I felt a similar feeling with the song “Life Lovers”. These songs are really enjoyable and help keep the album from veering into the realm of too vapid.

All-in-all this album is a great balance of graphic descriptions of picking up guys and taking them home, and bashing heteros for all the crazy bullshit that they put us through on a regular basis. There’s nothing more satisfying then listening to an album full of homophobe bashing and guy on guy sex. Yeah, this album isn’t likely to take home a Grammy for best composition, and the songs are short and repetitive, but like, common, don’t be a size queen. Sometimes the best things come in two and a half to three minute packages and are yelled at you. Give this album a listen, if for no other reason than to balance out all the heteronormativity that we experience on a daily basis.