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Peppermint B (Denmark) – Raised on sitcoms (single)

‘Raised on sitcoms’ – weren’t we all, back in the day? The telly was full of them, and by and large they were funny.

But times change and some of the material is considered ‘dodgy’ today. So if they are shown at all you can guarantee there will be a dirty great sign plastered on the screen warning you that you are likely to be offended or words to that effect.

Not so much in Peppermint B’s case. He sings about the wholesome US sitcoms like Friends (although that had its moments) and Beverly Hills 90210, which permeated US TV throughout the 90s and early 00s, and which he picked up on Danish TV as a kid.

He’s got an American accent, he moved around a bit since then and formed the band Blue Van which relocated to New York having had the American Dream, where he spent his early 20s and where they had a big hit with the song ‘Silly Boy’. There are plenty of silly boys in US sitcoms, including all the male characters in Friends, so he hit the mark straight off.

Anyway, on ‘Raised on sitcoms’, Peppermint B (Steffen Westmark) dreams back to the world that the various series revealed to him in his early youth in the provincial town of Brønderslev.

Blue Van man has moved on again and this is his solo project. With Peppermint B, Steffen Westmark takes responsibility for all instrumentation and production.

Why ‘Peppermint B’ I don’t know. It’s midway been Peppermint Patty, a character out of the comic strip Peanuts (and what they also cruelly called Jen Psaki, the previous White House Press Secretary) and Plan B.

Our Peppermint is no rapper. Instead, what he cobbled together here is a ridiculously catchy, hook-filled little number in which from the opening guitar riff it could easily be a sitcom theme tune in its own right.

On the surface the song is an ode to those sitcoms and the fulfilling life that beckoned through them in the good ol’ US of A, telling the tale of how he “lived a thousand lives” watching them while his bedroom walls were painted blue with the light from the TV.

But there’s something else in the lyrics that I haven’t figured out yet, in lines like:

“In the winter/When the nights where white and wet

You’d head over to the youth club/Play out the characters you had in your head

Raised on Saturdays/Where you never left your bed/Hung over, watching parents/

Faking being politically correct.”

So who was doing the faking? PB or his parents? And was that any reason for the move?

And then:

“When I got home/Drunk and alone

My walls were draped with dead strangers

I idolised these sonic painters

When I get home/I’ll let you know”

Why were they dead?  Is this Matthew Perry? Kirstie Alley? Anne Heche? Anyone else? Or is it a reference to the true nature of the lives many young Americans lived and still do; one totally at odds with the carefree existence of the sitcom star? And does the last line signify the end of an era, just as the British sitcoms died the death?

Musically, it’s very 1970s/80s East Coast soft rock, with hints of Tom Petty and a jazzy four on the floor beat. I’d go so far as to say that it might even have been the B side of ‘American Girl.’ Seriously.

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