How invigorating is Sleater-Kinney's music? Everything about their sound is just so fucking immediate and punchy, and their albums never fail to get me going - to give me a little bit of a boost when I'm feeling flat. There's more to them than this surface rush, though, fun though that is. There's the way they sometimes let their wittier, more playful side interact with their emotional and political concerns to great effect (particularly on the fantastic All Hands On the Bad One album), and the fact that their arrangements are often really twisty and complex despite their seemingly straight-ahead riot grrrl energy, and... oh fuck it, they're just really good, okay?
I love 'Burn, Don't Freeze' from The Hot Rock so much right now. It's weird, because it always sounds to me like two different songs intertwining with each other, but yet the construction of the song is immaculate... it makes personal discord sound graceful. It feels like Tucker and Brownstein are doubling up on you, cornering you, like you're a third party who can't help but get caught up in an argument that is cryptic in its details but all too clear in its overall tone ('Arson is no way/To make a love burn brighter'). There are two vocal melodies, two perspectives, and each of them is accompanied by half a guitar part. Without each other these guitar lines would be nothing, but together they form an uneven descent on the verses, and rise together into the rage of the chorus. Even whole there's damage in those clean guitar parts and interlocking vocals, but somehow Janet Weiss's drumming holds it all together, tying it all into one beat, one beautifully awkward song.
Romantic drama never sounded so good.
[This piece was written before The Woods came out, i.e. when Sleater-Kinney were still an ongoing concern. Some of the phrasing is a little clumsy, but I still stand by the majority of the sentiments contained in the post, especially with regards to 'Burn, Don't Freeze', a song I still can't get over today. And since the above post got a bit angsty, I've posted a Youtube for one of Sleater-Kinney's most glitter-covered pop songs below.]
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