The Vault: Josie & The Pussycats Sharpen Their Claws

Apr 16th, 2007 // 19 Comments

josie.jpgA post on donewaiting.com puts forth the theory that Avril Lavigne’s hypercolored new album, The Best Damn Thing, is actually the younger, shriekier cousin of the 2003 soundtrack for Josie and the Pussycats–and after we gave Josie a second listen, we realized that the guy may be right. For those of you who don’t follow the musical side projects of Tara Reid vehicles, a primer: The Josie soundtrack is a sleek slice of guitar-edged pop that had Matthew Sweet, Babyface, Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, and Letters to Cleo singer Kay Hanley on board, and it tried to “update” the fictional band’s Motownish leanings of the past with a growly-girl makeover. Its standout track is probably the breakup growler “Shapeshifter”–and, like the first single off The Best Damn Thing, it uses the word “whatever” as a weapon:

Josie & The Pussycats – Shapeshifter [MP3, link expired]
Avril and the Pussycats? [donewaiting.com]

  1. gregcoff

    And yes, I agree, “three small words” is better than “Shapeshifter”

  2. Barry White Stripes, Office LW

    Cat ear-equipped Reid, Leigh-Cook, and Dawson (ROWR!)? Du Jour? Parker Posey? Yes please!

    And 3 small words f’n rocks.

  3. tankboy

    Of course I was right, but I’m pleased to have caused you to dig out the Josie and the Pussycats disc!

  4. Feh Am Legend

    @heathermylove: I’d be inclined to agee with y’all on this except if memory serves, they don’t include the whole song on the soundtrack album. It’s just a small bit.

  5. Pete the Chop

    Yes, “three small words” was one of my ultimate guilty pleasures in college.

  6. Seccotine

    Glad to hear that someone else made this connection. Josie and the Pussycats is in my top five guilty pleasure movies of all time, and as I was watching SNL this weekend, I kept trying to figure out why Avril’s first song sounded so familiar …

  7. BillRocksCleveland

    One through Seven that soundtrack is really solid. I’ve always had a hard time choosing between “Three Small Words” and “Pretend To Be Nice.”

  8. The HZA. [member of the zombie nation]

    I spaced on the Three Small Words. That one is excellent. @gregcoff: Yes, Can’t Hardly Wait is severely underappreciated.

    They should remake Josie and the Pussycats. Or at least digitally redo the girls and leave everyone else.

  9. bifteck

    O how I adore this film. And the soundtrack, yes, is priceless.

  10. dabug

    Y’all are crazy, Hanley and the Pussycats already initiated the short-lived paradigm shift to power-teenpop. It was in the news.

    Avril is obviously ripping off of Skye Sweetnam, ironically/appropriately enough the track in which Skye pre-emptively calls herself AVRIL LITE so no one else does it for her, not that that stopped anybody. Y’know, “Hypocrite,” the best song ever and about fifty times better than “Girlfriend” (which is just OK).

  11. dabug

    (And don’t think it’s not a conscious rip-off, neither…Avril did the track with Dr. Luke pretty much right after he and Max Martin recorded the lead single with Skye for her now-in-limbo new album, ‘course Avril knew she’d get hers out first so who knows where that leaves Skye’s Max/Luke moment.

    Another (better) prototype of “Girlfriend” is Megan McCauley’s Max/Luke-produced “Tap That,” which bridges the gap between P!nk’s “U + Ur Hand” and Avril’s new single. Not as good as “Hypocrite,” only ten times better than “Girlfriend.”

  12. stix

    “Pretend to be Nice” anyone? helllooooooooo

    I think I was a little too young to appreciate it at the time, but both the movie and soundtrack pulled off the balance between satire and shallowness PERFECTLY. So underrated :(

  13. JustThisGuy

    I’m really tired of this “guilty pleasure” tag. A pleasure is only guilty if it conflicts with an image that we’re trying to project, and while we are all guilty of hiding behind pretensions of one sort or another, an image based on breaching perceived targeted cultural tastes is both shallow and fucking absurd.

    Hey, I liked Josie and the Pussycats as well. It was clever, funny, had a catchy soundtrack, and gave me the chance to see one of my boyhood crushes pretend to play a guitar and rock out on stage (I’m a sucker for girls with guitars, especially Heroin Girl–I refuse to refer to the actress that played Josie in any other way). And if this subject is ever broached again, I’ll proudly admit as much, without qualifying it as something I should be feeling guilty for.

  14. dollywould

    I’m late here (internet down at work this week), but I, too, am a fan of the soundtrack and movie. “Pretend to be Nice” is one of my all-time favorite songs. Idolator, I love you. You make me embrace my cheesy pop tendencies.

  15. SailorAlphaCentauri

    @ Puffermedia: The entirety of Back Door Lover is on the soundtrack. I used to listen to it all the time when I first bought it…it’s even one of the bonus music videos on the DVD.

  16. Kappuru

    I made out with my first honest to god girlfriend when this movie came out…
    and feeling bad that I was looking at Rachel Leigh Cook out of the corner of my eye.

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