Sleater-Kinney
One Beat


5.0
classic

Review

by Zorg USER (2 Reviews)
August 6th, 2007 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Three girls take on the post 9/11 world, exposing the backwardness of it while reminding us of our humanity. In one of the rock albums of the decade, Sleater-Kinney rocks not only our ears, but our brains as well.

Sleater-Kinney’s One Beat is a testament to the power of music, specifically rock music. In a time where fear triumphs over common sense, One Beat is a swift form of musical sanity. Three women who knew something had to be said about the current state of affairs exuberantly shout (literally) their insights, concerns and condemnations. These ladies have produced an album which is so intelligent, so aware and so truthful that it can’t be ignored. Its unapologetically political lyrics paired with the powerful do it yourself-take-no-prisoners rock and roll explodes not only in your ears, but in your brain. One Beat is not only Sleater-Kinney’s defining moment, but, also a generation’s. A generation engulfed in war, corruption, lies, and fear have an album which doesn’t offer any easy answers or solutions, but it gives something more important and realistic: hope.

Janet Weiss opens the album up on the title track with haunting bizarre machine-like drums. It’s not long until Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker kick in, trading vocals back and forth like an angry two headed beast. It doesn’t take long to realize that their chiding rampant amoral technocrats who create unbelievable destructive weapons. These women mean business. The condemnations continue throughout the album. On “Combat Rock” they explore the tyrannical jingoism in America, asking “Since when is skepticism un-American"” and exploring the police state nature of post 9/11 America, “Dissent's not treason but they talk like it's the same”. “And if you're scared by what you're left with destroy the answer that you've found” is yet another bold statement on “The Remainder”, maybe even possibly hinting at prior knowledge by the government about the events of 9/11. These women prove themselves fearless on these tracks. Yet, on others, they’re just the opposite.

“Far Away” probably defines many mental states of Americans during 9/11. Tucker’s vocals are engulfed with distraught fear - for her family, her people, and her freedom. Likewise on “Sympathy” Tucker is praying to God, for someone she loves; Her Son" Husband" The album has a handful of songs like this, connecting us back to humanity. It is the dichotomy of these tracks (“Oh”, “Hollywood Ending”) combined with the overtly political ones which help us remind ourselves of our humanity. That is where the album really shines; it represents the backwards time that we live in, but, also the fact that we’re all human beings who have the power to live and change. This idea is fully represented on the best track on the album, “Step Aside”. “Step Aside” asks us to “Shake our tail for peace and love” and that’s exactly what song will have you doing. Losing our apathy, taking notice to the wrongs in the world, and yet, enjoying life.

Sleater-Kinney has also widened their sound on this album. On “Step Aside” there is an impeccably placed horn section. Keyboards and synthesizers are also wisely enlisted on a few tracks. They’ve evolved from their stripped down Punk Rock for a fuller, lusher sound which compliments the album greatly. Brownstein delivers huge career riffs on “Oh”, “Combat Rock”, and on “Light Rail Coyote” she delves in Zeppelin-esque territory, a nice precursor to “The Woods”.

Everything Sleater-Kinney does on this album comes together perfectly. They’ve given us a beautiful, meaningful romp of an album. It is also very notable that One Beat was released on August 20, 2002, less than a year after the events of September 11th. Very few albums were addressing these issues so surely at this time. Making One Beat even that more remarkable of an album.

“These times are troubled these times are rough, there's more to come but you can't give up”

That helps me sleep at night.


user ratings (136)
Chart.
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Zorg
August 6th 2007


206 Comments


Yeah, I should have proof-read this more. Also, I was writing it in one tense and went back and changed it. I think that messed me up. /sigh.

Sorry.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 6th 2007


2126 Comments


I love this band so much, really sad they broke up.

Intransit
August 6th 2007


2797 Comments


12345678

MrKite
August 7th 2007


5020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was listening to this and liking what I was hearing and when Oh! came on it reminded me of a christmas when I was younger and I had this Pokémon thing with a ball that shot out and hit one of the three provided Pikachu's.

I don't know why.

Two-Headed Boy
August 7th 2007


4527 Comments


Not a five, but it's pretty great.

mvdu
August 14th 2007


767 Comments


There's no reason this couldn't be a 5.

MrKite
August 14th 2007


5020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It just depends on the person, but I agree with THB on this one.

tomwaits4noman
June 3rd 2010


91 Comments


A great album and a brave move so shortly after 9/11 to release an album that spoke out against Bush on some of the songs.

Almost flawless except for Prisstina nice tune but lyrically one of their worst . There is talks that they will reform in a few years I think Corin wanted to take a break in order to raise her son.

Ayon
June 14th 2010


160 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review. I think One Beat might be their best effort, however, i feel like it is less accessible than earlier stuff.





robin
Emeritus
May 10th 2011


4547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is all i can listen to lately. i always liked it but never knew i liked it this much.

jefflebowski
October 4th 2011


8573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

goddamn, SK must be one of the most consistent bands ever. Even Christgau likes all their albums

jefflebowski
January 28th 2012


8573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

still rocks hard

Gyromania
March 2nd 2014


26494 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

title track is one of the best songs i've ever heard. gotta look into this

hamid95
May 27th 2016


626 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hot damn, this is great!

ShadowRemains
December 16th 2016


25004 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

those riffs in light-rail coyote and combat rock tho

SandwichBubble
October 8th 2018


9249 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Y'all

15 replies isn't okay

Digging: Little Claw - Moss Has Fangs

Zorg
October 26th 2018


206 Comments


Gah, this review is embarrassing. I was 19 though.



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