Covers Corner: “Temptation” by The Limousines

I had a completely different Covers Corner lined up, but then I was reminded of this one, which has long been a favorite of mine. The echoing, “I do believe, I do believe, I do believe” gets stuck in my head all the time.

I’ve talked about The Limousines many times before, so this time I’ll focus on the song itself. In their hands, it opens with this machine gun of a dance beat, urgent in its potency. Eric Victorino’s distinctive vocal fry adds a great layer. When he says, “Hey!” and jumps into the chorus, there’s a hint of boyishness, but he turns fierce at just the right moments. The lyric, “Bolts from above hurt the people down below/People in this world, we have no place to go” is muffled and calls to mind his song “The Future,” which might be one of my favorite Limousines songs.

New Order and their predecessor Joy Division are fixtures of the new wave ’80s. With The Limousines’ electronica cover, they hurtle right into the 21st century.

(I am loathe to post YouTube links instead of Spotify, but this was a limited release on their website 10+ years ago and isn’t available anywhere else.)

Throwback Thursday: “Very Busy People” by The Limousines

Yes. I’ve been looking forward to writing about this song because in some ways, it’s the one that started crystalizing my music obsession. I’d grown up with music, but now I was establishing my own tastes.

Every time I hear this song, I remember the first time I heard it. I was sitting in the car way back when, listening to the Alt Nation radio station, and “Very Busy People” came on. Eric Victorino’s voice has a grainy quality that perfectly fits the song. Its lyrics, and the synthesizer overlay, have this empty feeling that always gets me. Even though they’re talking about being so very busy, all they’re doing is eating pizza, listening to music, and drinking too much. It’s sad, especially the gross lyric about Photoshopping. That’s the only part of the song I don’t like.

And yet, despite the irony of the song’s lyrics versus its title, there’s an odd sort of hope to it, too. After all, “We might be sprawled out on the floor/But we still make lovely company.” You almost want to meet the people that Victorino is talking about. (They show up again elsewhere in the Get Sharp album, with the song “Internet Killed the Video Star.” In that song, they’re disco-dancing, not caring about the past – or even, it seems, the future.)

What, then, is the message of “Very Busy People”? To me, it’s living in the moment and making your own fun. “That Donnie Darko DVD has been repeating for a week/And we know every single word.” It’s a song that really encapsulates being a teenager, which is probably why I liked it so much. And honestly, I still do.

The Millennial Messiness of The Limousines

“Stumble Back to You” by The Limousines has been on repeat around here lately and I am so excited about it. It has an ’80s-tinged sound with a stadium-sized inflection, especially at the beginning of the song. “Stumble Back to You” has a similar auditory enthusiasm to “Little Secrets” by Passion Pit.

Yet underneath it all you still have Eric Victorino’s rough voice, talking about how “before the night is through/I’ll turn around and stumble back to you.”

This is not new lyrical territory for Victorino. Despite the evolution of the band from “Get Sharp” to “Hush,” he often returns to exploring failing relationships between people that are themselves falling apart.

When you first hear The Limousines, it would be easy to dismiss them as just another flash-in-the-pan electronic band with clever lyrics about masturbation (just look up “Very Busy People.”) However, it’s clear that Victorino and his bandmate Giovanni Giusti have deeper, and perhaps darker, things on their mind.

Their second album, “Hush,” has a more mature sound, both melodically and lyrically. This is particularly evident on the two best songs of the album, “Love is a Dog from Hell” and “The Last Dance.” “The Last Dance” in particular is self-aware: Victorino writes that “we could take a vow believing/temptation’s not around.” Meanwhile, in “Love is a Dog from Hell,” he counters glory-days reminiscences of when his relationship first began with a caution that “we’ve gotta be careful because/love is a dog from hell.”

I think that’s why the Limos have a sound that’s important to my generation. We face that same shakiness, that same desire to relive a past era when things were easy. Victorino knows that this is how relationships are now. He pairs this lyrical sensitivity with killer dance beats that help you forget – or at least imagine a brighter future.

What more could you want?