The Allure | Chromatics
Johnny Jewel & Co. Return with an Ode to Cyndi Lauper
by Joshua P. Ferguson
In line with the legion of Italians Do It Better fans out there, we're antsy for news of Chromatic's new LP Dear Tommy—specifically a release date. But those watching closely know that the album's absence isn't the same as the IDIB camp being quiet. Cropping up at the beginning of September, the cosmopolitan Spanish clothing label MANGO launched its Fall/Winter 2015 line with a video boasting longtime muse Kate Moss alongside new—but no less prominent—face Cara Delevingne. Twirling and trading places in the promo spot, the two are accompanied by the latest cover in the Chromatics catalog, a modern retelling of the Cyndi Lauper classic "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".
Approached by MANGO to soundtrack the campaign, Chromatic's lead singer Ruth Radelet recruited the rest of the band for a moody mid-tempo indie-dance interpretation of the '80s staple. On friday, the track saw official release with three alternate versions and a gorgeous video starring Radelet and shot beachside in Cali by Jewel himself.
Chromatics' original mix leans about as commercial as the IDIB camp ever has, with an energy reminiscent of Glass Candy and a thumping house pulse that would make Jamie Jones, Lee Foss and the Hot Creations crew grin. Radelet's delicate delivery gives it that undeniable Chromatics sheen—a cheeky tease that tugs on Jewel's retro-minded style as much as it does show the band stepping outside of their highly curated repertoire just a touch.
Similarly, "Girls Just Wanna Have Some" is still squarely a moody Chromatics composition, but the half-time beat and rolling snare fills have trap written all over them. It seems that as much of an auteur vision as Jewel, Radelet and the rest of the Italians Do It Better family have proven themselves to have, this particular outing is showing the influence of their homebase in LA. For those looking for that late-night poolside version of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," go straight for the drum mix, which does away with much of the atmospherics for a sparse, crystalline turn on the original.
Detractors have already taken to the usual places to chide the popiness of the release, a poor stand-in for pre-Dear Tommy releases like "I Can Never Be Myself When You're Around" and "Just Like You." While those teasers are a direct through line from Kill For Love and are excellent in their own right, that particular outlook strikes as a little curmudgeonly. Jewel's production is as polished as ever and Radelet is in equally top form. Would any of us have put money on Chromatics covering Cyndi Lauper? Maybe not. But like the song makes clear, girls just wanna have fun. And it's pretty obvious that Radelet (and the rest of the crew) is. If you need further proof, check out the video.
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Chromatics is out now on iTunes and the Italians Do It Better online store.