The Irony and the Ecstasy
The Queer Aging of Pet Shop Boys and LCD Soundsystem in Electronic Dance Music
The English duo Pet Shop Boys and American group LCD Soundsystem are notable for their representation as artists who entered and succeeded in the predominately youthful market of popular music and the hedonistic aesthetic of electronic dance music (EDM) at ages considered old for the industry: 32 for vocalists/lyricists Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) and James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem). Neither of these bands makes straightforward EDM—Pet Shop Boys fall under pop and LCD Soundsystem can be considered post-punk—but both are influenced by the New York City dance scene of the late 70s and early 80s, and are characterized as ironic. I argue that Pet Shop Boys and LCD Soundsystem are ironic because of their belated, knowing position in a genre that privileges the infinite present and unproductive reproduction through repetition. In light of Lee Edelman’s claim that irony is the queerest of rhetorical devices, the ambivalence of Pet Shop Boys’ and LCD Soundsystem’s ostensible lack of youth and the youthful temporality of their EDM aesthetic place them in a queer tension between notions of immediate authenticity and the distance of age.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g. post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. Such derivate works or subsequent publications must happen no less than one calendar year after the initial publication date in Dancecult.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g. in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).