The beauty of ‘Teen Love’

No Trend - Teen Love

It starts off innocently enough. A simmering bass line commences, followed by a mid-tempo drum beat and some leads that could almost have come from a Byrds record. But as soon as the lead singer Jeff Mentges begins to talk – and not sing – over the din, you known you’re in for something way different.


The record is “Teen Loveâ€Â by the Maryland hardcore band No Trend, which achieved a degree of cult popularity in the early 1980s. Released in the heyday of MTV ascension, “Teen Loveâ€Â spit in the face of mass media-induced conformity with its deadpan dissection of youth culture.


“They met during social interaction in Algebra class,â€Â the song begins. “She was expressionless at first, but then smiled to indicate submission. He rearranged his facial features to appear friendly.â€Â


This is the tone Mentges takes and it’s both hilarious and a bit disconcerting. The song goes on to skewer just about every facet of teen culture then wraps up with a gruesome ending right of all those “teen tragedyâ€Â song from the early 1960s.


“Teen Loveâ€Â is hardcore in attitude more than sound (except for the hyped-up middle section). The song was the highlight of the band’s debut release, a four-song EP, released in 1983 on the band’s own label. The EP’s other three songs are pretty decent hardcore rave-ups, so it’s worth tracking down on vinyl. No Trend went on to record until 1988, eventually moving to Touch & Go Records.


“Teen Loveâ€Â was no doubt more popular in my neck of the woods because there area I lived as a teen was two towns down from where No Trend was from – Ashton, Md. – and the song got a lot of play on the local alternative radio station. At the time Ashton was a tiny, rural area (it’s since been built up), and I remember being surprised the band wasn’t from L.A. or D.C. (the two hardcore hubs of the early 1980s).


The only other thing I should mention is that my then-girlfriend found this song, like, totally offensive and really hated the ending. She used to threaten to leave whenever I would break out the EP. So there you have it: “Teen Loveâ€Â almost ruined my teen love. What better recommendation could you want?


No Trend’s “Teen Loveâ€Â can be found on Teen Beat Records’ “Teen Love: The Early Years.â€Â Hear it on YouTube.