I’m fairly certain I owe my knowledge of the Gay Dad track “Joy!”–and indeed my knowledge of the band at all–to one of the sampler CDs that came bundled in issues of CMJ New Music Monthly. The single was first released in 1999, well past my time toiling in commercial radio and before I reentered the rare air of college radio. In this sonic purgatory, I was trying desperately to keep informed on new music, finding myself increasingly dispirited by the drably catchy material that dominated the other local radio station that was at all palatable. Into this sonic purgatory, I grabbed excitedly at anything that was bold in any way. And “Joy!” is bold.
There were probably some who felt the band was bold because of its supposedly provocative name, but it always struck me as too obviously edgy-cool, saddling it with a sense of novelty that practically promised longevity for the band was not meant to be. Sure enough, their first single was released in 1999, and the band was no more by 2002. Instead, I’d characterize “Joy!” as nicely attention-getting because of the bigness of its sound, fully earning the exclamation point included in the title. There’s a cynicism and irony laced through the lyrics, but that massive chorus crying out for “a little joy” is what truly grabs the ear. Tired of genially meandering music, the aggressiveness of Gay Dad’s song was exactly the contrast I needed.
I can’t say I was ever especially motivated to seek out Leisure Noise, the debut full-length that was home to this song. There may be other gems on it, but the song made for one of those perfect singles, the sort of thing that I didn’t want to risk disrupting by hearing it nestled amongst uninspired filler. My instincts said nothing else on the album could compare. Whether or not that’s true is immaterial to me now. I treasure the one blast of pop goodness I got from the band.
Listen or download –> Gay Dad, “Joy!”
(Download: It appears to me that Leisure Noise is out of print as a physical object and therefore unavailable for purchase through your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said store and the original artist. I am genuinely unconcerned about the prospect of denying commerce to online music-slingers who are unlikely to send revenues back to the original creators, if it’s even available that way. I didn’t check all that hard. Regardless, I will gladly and promptly remove this track from the interweb if asked to do so by someone with due authority to make such a request.)