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Why is Death From Above 1979''s Album Art for "Virgins" so Cringeworthy?

Maybe it's best not to make songs about de-flowering women. Mmm Kay.

At one point in my life, Death From Above 1979 was the only band I cared about. For a lot of young Canadians who loved dance punk bangers, DFA was the soundtrack to the stage in your life when virginities were lost in the back seats of fuel-guzzling rigs from now-closed General Motors factories. Like being reminded of that time, being reminded that DFA still exists is extremely awkward and moderately upsetting. The only difference is that one of those things (fuel-guzzling rigs) took my virginity and another one (DFA) just took my money through continuous reunion tours on the festival circuit and recycled merchandise. Something about the classic elephant man logo was cringeworthy but also looked super badass, and teenage wallets are susceptible to good iconography. That balance between cringe and cool was something that DFA always managed perfectly in the aughts, but managed to lose incredibly during this decade.


This is super evident in the semi-shocking, completely corny, and totally fucked up cover art for their single release of the song “Virgins”—a song about the benefits of waiting until marriage or until a strapping band member comes to town on tour and decides he wants to exercise his fetish—on Apple Music. Keep in mind that by describing it as shocking, I’m not giving it the credit of being artistically shocking but rather, to the shock that anyone thought this was a good idea. The cover art features a banana that could possibly be an emoji, but could also some kind of fancy ice cream treats dipped in chocolate, but that chocolate could totally be blood. Bands clearly don’t understand the true aesthetic of a banana anymore. I don’t understand art but I am certain Warhol’s banana is better and therefore, The Velvet Underground did this whole joke better.

Now, the blood is supposed to represent vaginal blood because many people think that all virgins bleed after they have sex. This isn’t true at all really. I read a lot of Cosmopolitan magazine and they have information telling me otherwise. Cosmo says that it is very common for the hymen—the vagina thing that breaks and explodes and bleeds fluids everywhere and scares young dudes—to rip before a woman ever has sex. Even non-virgins can have post-coital bleeding! Maybe the boys in DFA 1979 need to re-evaluate their graphic decisions and pick up a sex ed. guide with the money I fucking wasted buying Romance Bloody Romance in CD form so I could listen to the breakdown on “You’re Lovely (But You’ve Got Problems)” over and over again. Anyways, back to the cover. So the song is about “Virgins”. Specifically about the depleting stock of virgins. You would think that DFA, being a Canadian band, would take some time to write about something more important that we, as a nation, are losing. Like the collapse of the Atlantic Northwest cod population. I guess that cod aren’t really a great fish to fetishize since they do like to swim in cold water. Although if DFA were to write a song about wanting to fuck Atlantic cod it would be significantly less creepy than this mediocre track that drags itself to the end on an uninspired riff from Jesse F. Keller.

The bridge is kind of groovy though but then it dies when the head numbing four on the floor bass drum kicks in. The lyrics involve god-awful lines like “Please won't you stay with me / I'm beggin' tonight / I'll hold back your hair if you're not feelin' alright” and “I believe there's room for friends in all beds”. There’s something remarkably problematic and disgusting about dudes in their mid-30s being this explicit with their fetishization of virgins, especially considering the massive influence that they hold, perhaps on a new generation of kids who actually like this new album. Of course, I’m not an artist, I’m just some hack writer so maybe I’m not the best person to comment on artistic intent. It is summer after all, and maybe DFA just love to dip frozen bananas in strawberry syrup.

Mitch Jackson has gone three whole days without a banana sundae after writing this - @gladst0ned