!!! - "Freedom! '15" (audio)

!!!’s “Freedom! ‘15” could have come about from any number of recent eras.

Timothy Gabriele: Say what you will about Wham’s “Freedom” and its partial response, George Michael’s “Freedom ‘90”, but both could have only arose as a result of their time. The former, a series of bright stomping synth chords arguing against a woman’s autonomy that they somehow fashioned into a music video crying for democracy to break loose in Communist China (sadly it didn’t work, but it can be argued that China did instead “Make It Big”). The latter, a series of house vamps and slinky R&B riffs whose lyrics seem to be a rejection of music’s reliance on image that Michael somehow fashioned into an iconographic music video full of naked supermodels lip-synching the tune. !!!’s “Freedom! ‘15” could have come about from any number of recent eras. The thing that distinguishes it the most from straight-up West End/late era Prelude disco is some raw distortion. Perhaps the video’s silly but fun combo of web 1.0 and mobile ’15 technology is an attempt to rectify that.

I used to spin !!!’s eponymous debut record in my college dorm room ad nauseum, but its sloppy punk-funk sonics doesn’t hold up as well as its sardonic sense of humor, particularly given the increased availability of the original postpunk stuff that the band was using as raw material. !!! 2015 is a much different band, far more self-assured and actually able to keep time. They’re not making revolutionary tunes, but enough high quality dance numbers like this one and it likely won’t make much of a difference. [7/10]

Eric Risch: Stepping off the dance floor and into the parking garage, !!! court the NSA with their disco-flavored diss track “Freedom! ’15”, transforming the now-tired lyric video format into an iPhone-produced PowerPoint of epic cheese. [5/10]

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