The Sex EP
The debut single by Harrison Patrick Smith — also known as The Dare — came in like a candy-coated wrecking ball. “Girls”, with its admissions of loving pregnant girls, ones with dicks, or those who engage in killing sprees, delivered with a ridiculously exaggerated affect, rang in a new era of sleazy, dance-punk to shrug off one’s identity and embrace a totally new one.
With his second single, “Good Time”, it was clear that the persona of The Dare was one put on for dancefloors and late nights out — its opening cry of “Let’s have some fun tonight!” is all you need to know in order to distinguish this aggrandized character from Smith as a person. The Dare is having sex with no strings attached (“Fuck me like we were meant to / Be, girl”), unabashedly silly verve (“I want to call your mom, and tell her you’re the bomb”) and a glimpse into the techno shows that he curates in New York City, Freakquencies.
His selling point is that the songs on The Sex EP are legitimately catchy — the backup singers on “Girls” that punctuate each chorus with “That’s what’s up!”, the irresistible electronic breakdown on “Sex”, or bragging about one’s place in the city (“Hope my set sounds good outside”) on “Good Time” all make it a cohesive, enjoyable project. Hell, the chorus on “Girls” (“I like the girls that do drugs / Girls with cigarettes in the back of the clubs”) might be one of the best earworms in pop’s history. The only miss is the closer, “Bloodwork”, a mostly nonverbal track that leaves more questions than answers.
Pitchfork’s review of The Sex called it “silly”, as if it’s a bad word, and states that Smith’s songwriting is “not as transgressive as he would like you to believe.” To ascribe The Sex more meaning than a comedy-leaning musical project where one indulges in fun above all is not only wrong, it’s a waste of time — it’s the same as listening to an Ava Max album wondering where the politically charged protest songs are. The Sex doesn’t try to be progressive, it tries (and succeeds) to be fun. Smith’s songs are reminiscent of early-day Jon Lajoie or Bo Burnham electronic tracks created as jokes — those that are made to have a good time, and if it ends up being a good, catchy song in the process, so be it.
Listening to The Sex is like indulging in any good daring or salacious piece of fiction — like a more fun American Psycho — or playing Grand Theft Auto. You’re mowing over bicyclists, strippers, and shooting people with no abandon, but at the end of the day, you can resume your normal life, knowing that the two things are separate. You might mouth along to his admission that “I like girls who make love, but I love girls who like to fuck”, then log into your computer to start the work day. The Sex is an escape: a damn fun one at that.
Order The Sex by The Dare HERE
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