The Apples In Stereo: Comically Polite

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The attempts to seem menacing in The Apples in Stereo's "Told You Once" sound anything but. Joshua Kessler hide caption

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The Apples in Stereo

The attempts to seem menacing in The Apples in Stereo's "Told You Once" sound anything but.

Joshua Kessler

Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Told You Once"
  • Artist: The Apples in Stereo
  • CD: Travellers in Space and Time
  • Genre: Pop

"Told You Once" is the kind of smart, idiosyncratic guitar-pop The Apples in Stereo's members have been making for 15 years now — it's a paisley-colored romp about wanting to steal someone's girlfriend, with singer Robert Schneider mustering as much animosity as possible. Which is to say, none at all.

The best song on The Apples in Stereo's newish album, Travellers in Space and Time, "Told You Once" is written from a point of view that recalls The Beatles' "You're Gonna Lose That Girl." The singer addresses an uncaring boyfriend, warning him that his bad behavior will cost him his lady — whom, unsurprisingly, the singer is happy to pick up off the pavement. The bright sing-along chorus ("I told you once, I told you twice / I'm gonna treat your baby nice") comes off as almost comically polite.

Like The Beatles' song, "Told You Once" attaches threatening lyrics to a tune that sounds anything but. The groove is full of pounding pianos, cowbells and vintage-sounding synths, as well as some Electric Light Orchestra-style vocoder, a favorite sound on recent Apples albums. Schneider's singing is particularly soulful for him, full of yearning and "ooh-ooh" vocalizations and brash in its own sweet way, but it all adds up to something kind of nerdy — and perfectly catchy.

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