Wet Leg: 6 pop culture references hidden in the duo’s new album

Wet Leg felt uncomfortable when critics started to read deeper meaning into their breakthrough hit, “Chaise Longue”.

“We were just having a good time,” Rhian Teasdale told The Independent last week. “And that’s OK.”

Teasdale formed Wet Leg with her best friend Hester Chambers in 2019; the duo released the single in question last year. Elton John, Florence Welch and Iggy Pop all endorsed the track, with Dave Grohl claiming that the Foo Fighters listened to it on repeat.

“Wet Leg was originally just supposed to be funny,” Teasdale said in a statement describing the duo’s origin. “As a woman, there’s so much put on you, in that your only value is how pretty or cool you look. But we want to be goofy and a little bit rude. We want to write songs that people can dance to. And we want people to have a good time, even if that might not be possible all of the time.”

On Friday 8 April, Wet Leg released their self-titled debut album. While, as promised, there’s no underlying political agenda to be found, the project is filled with earnestly bawdy lines and witty pop culture references. Here are our favourites.

“Chaise Longue” – Mean Girls

Jonathan Bennett and Lindsay Lohan in 2004 movie ‘Mean Girls’

(Rex Features)

Mean Girls has provided a number of gems that are still quoted today, including classics such as “On Wednesdays, we wear pink”, “You can’t sit with us”, and, “She doesn’t even go here!”

Artists Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift have equally been inspired by the 2004 blockbuster, with “thank u, next” and “Look What You Made Me Do” respectively referencing the movie.

“Is your muffin buttered? Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?” Teasdale says, deadpan, at the beginning of “Chaise Longue”. In the summery 2021 music video, Teasdale says this behind sunglasses as Chambers stands in the background, her sun hat covering her face.

They are quoting Jason, a supporting character in Mean Girls who makes fun of Lindsay Lohan’s character Cady Heron on her first day at school.

Later in “Chaise Longue”, the line is twisted into an evocative parallel: “Is your mother worried? / Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?”

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Wet Leg in the music video for “Chaise Longue”

(Wet Leg/YouTube)

“Wet Dream” – @beam_me_up_softboi

“Beam me up, / Count me in, / Three, two, one, / Let’s begin,” the band chants on “Wet Dream”. This may have brought star trek to mind, but it’s actually social media that is being referenced here.

@beam_me_up_softboi is an Instagram account with over 650,000 followers. It posts screenshots of “softboi behaviour” via texts, DMs and dating app conversations, which are submitted anonymously to the page.

A softboi, Teasdale explains via Apple Music, “is someone in the dating scene who’s presenting themselves as super, super in touch with their feelings and really into art and culture. They use that currency to try and pick up girls.

“It’s not just men that are softbois,” Teasdale added. “Women can totally be softbois, too. The character in the song is that, basically.”

“Ur Mum” – scream therapy

Scream therapy involves screaming to actively let out any frustration that is building up rather than holding it in. Apparently Kanye West is a fan.

But, unlike the album’s closing track “Too Late Now”, which references modern self-care culture as a whole, Teasdale has first-hand experience with scream therapy. Kind of.

She recalled living with friends in London: “Every Tuesday, it’d get to 7pm and you’d hear that massive group scream,” she told Apple Music.

“We learned that downstairs was home to the Psychedelic Society, and eventually realized that it was scream therapy,” she continued. “I thought it’d be funny to put this frustration and the failure of this relationship into my own personal scream therapy session.”

“Oh No” – pizza rat

Remember pizza rat? The odd meme is based on a viral 2015 video (which has almost 12 million views to date) of a brown rat carrying a slice of pizza down the steps of a subway station in New York City.

“Live your best life,” the videographer tells pizza rat as it clambers down the stairs.

In “Oh No”, which is about doomscrolling and internet culture, Teasdale sings: “On my phone, all alone / In the zone, oh no / Hours pass, pizza rat / I like that, oh no.”

The pizza rat meme was incredibly short-lived – representing the rapid nature of social media that Teasdale is singing about.

“Wet Dream” – The Lobster

“What makes you think you’re good enough to think about me / When you’re touching yourself, touching yourself…?” Teasdale sings. In the music video, she wears a denim prairie dress, bright red hair scarf and lobster hands.

In Yorgos Lanthimos’s 2015 The Lobster, a lobster is the animal of choice for Colin Farrell’s character David, who will be transformed into an animal if he fails to find a partner in the next 45 days. The film satirises society’s idea that life is only meaningful and complete once you have a partner or family of your own.

Towards the end of the video, Teasdale, Chambers and three men gather around a dinner table in the woods wearing lobster bibs. As the men start tucking into plates of lobster, Teasdale and Chambers lock panicked eyes. Under the music, Teasdale screams, “I’m a f**ing lobster!”

Rhian Teasdale at the lobster dinner table in Wet Leg’s “Wet Dream” music video

(Wet Leg/YouTube)

“Supermarket” – lockdown #1 in the UK

Many people continue to romanticize the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown, associating it with sourdough baking, banana bread, Zoom quizzes and yoga. Bizarrely, we also fell in love with supermarket shopping.

“I want to take you to the supermarket / I want to buy you all the sh*t that you need / I think I like it at the supermarket / But now security keep asking us to leave,” Teasdale sings, referencing the strange sense of escapism that supermarkets offered in the first lockdown.

“It was written just as we were coming out of lockdown and there was that time where the highlight of your week would be going to the supermarket to do the weekly shop, because that was literally all you could do,” Teasdale said.

“I remember queuing for Aldi and feeling like I was queuing for a nightclub.”

Wet Leg is out now. Read The Independent’s review here.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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