music

The Hidden Cameras Made 2 Albums About Raunchy Gay Sex. Then It Stopped

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Gay indie rock band The Hidden Cameras released their new album Origin:Orphan today. It gave Daniel Villarreal the perfect opportunity to revisit their old records — and see whether they’re still as hardcore.

There’s an expression that goes, “If you’re not a punk at 20, there’s something wrong with you but if you’re still a punk at 30, there’s something wrong with you.” At 20, Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras composed some of the most uplifting pop songs about being peed on and sniffing cum that you’ve ever heard.

Their first two albums, The Smell of Our Own and Mississauga Goddam, used masturbation, anal douching, and gagging on cock not as throwaway shock humor, but as analogies for immaturity, body obsession, and growing up too fast. It was beautifully confessional music with brutal symbols that any alienated gay guy could relate to. The albums are still pretty revolutionary, considering all these songs had organ and guitar arrangements straight out of church — and that most indie rockers would rather gaze at their shoes than ever discuss sex, least of all gay sex.

Then suddenly, on their third album Awoo, almost all the Cameras’ attention to raunchy gay sex disappeared.

Sure, Awoo had some innuendo about being bent over, sucking on “lollipops,” and maybe even one song about auto-erotic asphyxiation, but the next gayest tracks were about swooning over kneecaps and talking to your dad. It also had a song called “She’s Gone.”

She?!

You had to wonder whether Joel Gibb had traded in the piss play and leather sex that helped make his band famous just to end up crafting innocuous pop songs that straight people would enjoy.

But Gibb is 32 now, and his band’s latest album Origin:Orphan shows he hasn’t traded gay sex for popular appeal; he’s just stopped focusing on his cock and started refining his craft.