#23 Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul: Topical Dancer

Don’t say “Nice pair”
Say “I love the symmetry of you”
Don’t say
“But I’m allowed to say that
Because I grew up in a black neighbourhood”
Say “My n… eighbour”
Don’t say “You speak my language surprisingly well”
Say “Do you speak Esperanto?”
Don’t say “Only a man is fit for this job”
Say “At least you tried, Karen”
Don’t say “I would like a black Americano”
Say “I’ll have an African American please”
Don’t say “White people can’t dance”
Say “Tom marches to the beat of a different drum”
Don’t say “So you’re from China, do you know my friend Hiro?”
Say “You must be blind not to see the difference”
Don’t say “We need to build a wall”
Say “I’m a world citizen, I don’t believe in borders”


This album is a fucking riot and – considering that since March every single person on Earth has had an invitation – if you haven’t joined this party yet you need to have serious words with yourself. Serious words. No other album in the world could so easily combine the dankest beats and electronic dance music, with songs that combine tales of one member (Charlotte) being catcalled as a thirteen year old, but then also combined with another band member (Bolis) explaining their own sexual awakening by way of Acqua Di Gio perfume, but then moves on to Charlotte’s failed attempt to eat food sexually in order to attract a boy named Stéphane only “I couldn’t locate my mouth anymore/The nacho fell straight into my empty bra/Stéphane ended up with Nadia”. There’s a lot happening here! And, fuck Nadia, right? No! I didn’t mean it like that, I meant…

That closing coda to Esperanto though, what’s going on there? I’ve honestly spent the last nine months attempting to properly understand those lyrics. Is it a snarling takedown of liberal political correctness? The idea of calling a black Americano coffee an ‘African American’ is obviously a joke, but are all the other suggestions of what you ‘should’ say equally as mocking? To call someone “blind not to see the difference” if they ask a Chinese person if they were aware of your friend Hiro (so dumb, ‘Hiro’ is a Japanese name. If the person was Japanese they’d probably know him. Oh, and also likely be complicit in the celebration of war criminals, but I worry that we don’t have enough time to properly discuss that now), sounds… appropriate? And to counter the classic misoginistic claim about women/men’s job with “At least you tried, Karen” are we highlighting the patronisingly low expectations placed on non cis male genders, or are we suggesting that the term ‘Karen’ has now become a bit of a slur in itself??

Are you polite or political?
Are you correct or cynical?
Are you as open-minded behind closed doors?
Would you join forces in this holy war?
Are you as offended when nobody’s watching?
Are you an attacker or a victim?
Do you carry the burden of this privilege?
Do you see this guilt as leverage?

I would love to join you in this Holy War, Charlotte and Bolis, I’m just not sure what side you’re fighting on! And the closing statement of being “A World citizen, I don’t believe in borders”, is…? Is that…? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?? Are the ideas of borders actually a sensible and credible idea that only the weakest liberal would protest?? This coda confuses me so much and I…!

Oh, never mind, this song is just Charlotte’s laugh sampled and loopedonly the chorus is them crying! God, this record’s fucking amazing.

I guess you had to be there


‘Topical Dancer’ is an absolute mammoth of creativity, and…

Ooooooooooooh! It’s called ‘Topical Dancer’! I’ve been calling it ‘Tropical‘!! That is a good, solid pun.

Yeah, pretty sure I covered everything in that review.

No thank you (oh, thank you)
No no no no really thank you (oh, thank you)
Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me this (oh, thank you)
This is a real eye opener (oh, thank you)

Couldn’t have done this without you
And your opinion
Enlighten me, with your vision
I count my blessings

Thank You

No, no, it was my pleasure.


Metacritic: 85

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