Review Summary: Radical feminist and anarchist Emma Goldman once said, "I don't want to be part of your revolution if I can't dance." Like Fleetwood Mac before them (but with more politically relevant lyrics than, "All I want is to see you smile/ If it takes just a littl
Kathleen Hanna is best known as the former leader of Bikini Kill, the band that defined the early '90s "riot-grrrl movement".
When Bikini Kill formed in the late '80s, their mix of catchy punk tunes and hard-hitting politics were a timely wake-up call to the male-dominated alternative rock scene in the Pacific Northwest, positioning the band as icons and role models to girls across the country.
Once the shock of the new of the riot-grrrl movement wore thin, few were listening short of riot-grrrls themselves.
Rather than continuing to preach to the choir and once the strom was over, Hanna has called off mass in favor of a dance party. As Le Tigre, she teams up with producer Johanna Fateman and independent video and filmmaker Sadie Benning.
First of all, every damn song is a hit. Some of them might kick in later and are harder to get, others make you addicted the second they kick in.
This is the most well known song by them to date and has a great dancing beat with driving guitars, drums and an overall very cool feel. The song is full of different electronic effects and hooks from the first seconds. Deceptacon is a response to Fat Mike of NOFX which had a song titled "kill rockstars" which attacks kathleen hannah and bikini kill. NOFX also has a song called "linoleum". Kathleen hannah is saying that NOFX has sucky lyrics and she'll walk on them like a linoleum floor as can be seen in these verses:
"You bought a new van the first year of your band
Your cool and I hardly wanna say "not" because I'm so bored
that I'd be entertained even by a stupid ***in linoleum floor, linoleum floor
Your lyrics are dumb like a linoleum floor
I'll walk on it
I'll walk all over you
Walk on it, walk on it, walking one, two/ Who? Who? Who? Who?"
This song definitely gets a 5/5
2. Hot Topic
After the firecracker that was Deceptacon we continue with this slower song. It has some funky noises and clear singing complete with a slow, but always happy sounding background drums and beats. The refrain is a mix between two refrains actually which fits together very nicely. The song is an ode to all the feminist heros which she mentiones throughout the song:
"...Shirley Muldowney, Urvashi Vaid, Valie Export, Cathy Opie, James Baldwin, Diane Dimassa, Aretha Franklin, Joan Jett, Mia X, Krystal Wakem.."
So, it's basicially about powerful women who have made a difference and who, the band hopes, will continue to do so. 4.5/10
3. What's your take on cassavettes
This song starts with a little spoken intro by Hanna ("We've talked about it in letters
And we've talked about it on the phone..) until it goes full frontal into the main refrain which has a cool beat while they sing ""What's Your Take on Cassavete's?" 4 times, only to convert into a heavier sounding part with the possible answer like "Misogynist? Genius?"
This song is about dealing with contradictory feelings about art. Like John Cassavetes (Gena Rowlands "A Woman Under the Influence", directed by him) who is absolutely a genius and a misoginist too, so the song is about dealing with this as a feminist artist. 4/5
4. The The Empty
We enter the most angry and brutal song on the album. It has the typical Riot Grrrl feeling with a snairs, fast drumming, hard riffs and angry singing. Hanna does her thing while most of the time we get background vocals with the phrase "All that glitters is not gold".
I think it's about being alienated by pop-culture and society thus "I didn't feel anything" at the "concert" or "movie" because everything seems meaningless, fake and put-on and everyone else seems to thinks that it's all good or "gold" as you can see in those verses:
"I sat through your movie but I didn't see anything
I went to your comedy club and didn't laugh at all
I went to your movie and I didn't hear anything
I went to your concert and there was nothing was going on"
I read an interview with Kathleen where she talked about for example seeing "there's something about Mary" and not thinking it was funny at all and that they pretty much don't fit into or understand pop culture. 5/5
"Phanta" opens with an itrueging little news report about a group of hippies going to the mountains of Colorado to wait for doomsday in 1968. It has overall a very dark feeling and groove that this song delivers completed with a weird beat until she sings "Now here's alright".
I assumed it was based on a real news event from the speaker at the beginning and hearing about this story inspired them to write a song about it.
The song is also splitted into 3 days.
The first day the hippies arrived and found something weird (No vegetation/Blips on my screen/Whatever was here/Has been disappeared).
The second day they found a creature (Wait tower/Radar's going off/I see a small creature/Who can barely walk-My data says "large"/But what I see is small/Text reads "Big Danger"/But this just looks tired).
On the final third day the search ends (Come in tower/All our data's wrong/Research inconsistent/We misread it all-There was no monster/And what's left is near dead/Control killed a phantom/From inside their heads). 4.5/10
6. Eau d'Bedroom Dancing
The sixth song opens with a very slow main beat and drums and melancholic vocal parts. It's a very dreamful song and good to relax overall. The meanings of the song were very hard to point out for me at first but I think it was overall about sexual relations, but I also read it as a paean to a BDSmDs relationship, or a specific BDSmDs scene, whether or not the participants are into this 24-7.
>I'm in the sky when I'm on the floor
ok, basically, "I'm only truly free & flying when you are putting me into a submissive headspace"
>The world's a mess and you're my only cure
Pretty obvious: "you are my master/ mistress, & define/ fix/ create the world for me"
>There's no time for me to act mature
perhaps there is some age-play going on? or maybe "I don't have to make decisions or take the responsibility, as I put it all in your hands"
>The only words I know are "more, more" and "more"
Great song. 5/5
7. Let's Run
This song has a lot of energy, delivers a great feeling (which I explain later as well) and has very good emotional vocals. The song is really a fun rollercoaster and makes you want to dance instantly. Now to the meaning.
This song is about being in a band, taking the chance even though you might fail or people might say you suck.
"Oh we could rock/Or we could bomb/Or we could try/Like super hard"
It's also about just wanting to be in the band for the music, and not having any of the typical rock star attitudes, etc.:
"I wanna spread my dementia/I wanna knock it off the line/Give me attention/Every day and every night
Don't want no crusty bull***/No crap or attitude/Just wanna get electric tonight/You know with you you you you"
It's basically Le Tigre saying they pay no attention to their critics! Great message. 4.5/10
8. My My Metrocard
The eight is possible the happiest song on the entire CD with a very cool main beat and a very addicting refrain with background vocals completed with a finishing rough but happy "Think I'll go a little but then I go far".
I read in an interview that it was meant to be about sticking it back to Guiliani by abusing the metrocard system (where you can ride all day? Am not sure, never been to NY)
"Oh ***/Giuliani/He's such/A ***ing jerk/Shut down/All the stripbars/Workfare/Does not work-My My Metrocard/Think I'll go a little but then I go far" 5/5
9. Friendship Station
A we present to you the usual filler on every album. On the "Friendship Station" happens nothing particluar interesting. The main beat and the groove seem kinda flat and boring and the yelling vocals seem kinda odd compared to the rest.
The song is possible about a a waitress who is sick of work and life, but she'll let it be alright anyway.:
"The phone keeps ringing and it just won't stop/There's a paper napkin in my coffeepot/People freaking out on me left and right/My head feels heavy but my feet feel light".
As I said before. Clearly a "filler". 2.5/10
10. Slideshow at the free university
This song basicially features and very weird and continueing main beat until the vocals kick in, or better yet, spoken words by a man, which are only supported by a few drums. It delivers a weird feel that leaves you a bit perplex if you don't know what it's about.
The speech is from Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb's manifesto on abstract art, which was apparently published in the new york times.
"The artist was attempting to make art more than something to just look at/they wanted it something to be involved in /something too big to ignore"
Another filler in my opinion, but a well thought and unique one. 3.5/5
11. Dude,Yr so Crazy!
Another song with more spoken word and less sung vocals completed with a very dark and at times even intimidating main beat (the "oooh's in the background add a lot it as well).
I think this song is just a rant about hipsters who all have the same interests, and collect scene points so to speak.:
"Hawaiian Shirt/ Buddy buddy/ Just Chillin'/ Crystal Meth
Big Budget/ Dirty Hair/ Anti PC/ Dive Bar/ Universal/
Hilton Safari/ Euro Connection/ Topless Now
Obscure Reference/ Likes Parties
Fake Childhood/ Muscle Tee"
Nothing much to say I have to admit, but the song delivers an odd feel and delivers great. 4/5
12. Les and Ray
And we finally arrived after circa 32 minutes and a rollercoaster of tunes to the final song. "Les and Ray" has a very uplifting main groove with high vocals and great synths. Definitely a very happy song and a good closing tune for the album.
I read in an interview that it's about kathleen escaping to her queer neighbors who intitally sparked her interest in music and who proved to her that music could be an espce from the abuse she suffered.
Such a wonderful song. Just look at the lyrics and you'll get it.:
"Nine years old and climbing out the house/Through a song played on piano /By my neighbors Les and Ray"
"I put my head up against the wall /To be closer to the music that they played"
"You were my oxygen /The thing that made me think I could escape/This is a thank you song for Les and Ray"
"You were my batteries/The thing that made me think I could escape/Here's a song for Les and/Here's a song for Les and Ray"
Fantastic closing song for a fantastic debut album. 5/5
+ Very intelligent and unique songwriting
+ The album flows very well
+ A lot of danceable and fun tracks
- A few more beat oriented fillers than it needed
- Very short songs
Final Rating: 4.5/5