Words. Words. Words. Give me words so I can describe how much I love the Breeders.
*30 seconds later*
Okay, the words came, and I want to talk about my favorite song off of Pod, the Breeders debut album. Men and Gentleladies, I give you “Iris”, the heaviest song from the Breeders. And for anyone who immediately associates the word heavy with metal, I just want to remind you that heavy, by definition in a musical context, is the emotional weight that a song carries. And let me tell you, this song is HEA-VY. And if you disagree please try me in the comments, because I sincerely would like to know another song from them that is heavier than this.
All animosity aside, Kim Deal’s vocals, crackling and all, is just one element that quite literally screams heavy; they sound desperate and full of raw emotion, perfectly encapsulating the weight of this song. I think Steve Albini, the producer of this track, needs much love, not necessarily for what he did do, but for what he didn’t do. Thank you for not over-producing this track and making it some squeaky clean indie rock. I think the minimalistic production perfectly pairs with the simple elements of the song. For example Josephine Wiggs’ bassline is so simple, but it sort of builds a looming anticipation as the song progresses from verse to chorus. Or what about Kelley Deal’s guitar solo mid song? Even then, somehow, it’s a guitar solo that doesn’t want to grab attention in an obvious way; it’s simple with beautiful tone and somehow mimics the same desperation Kim Deal’s vocal has. The song is my go to song when things just feel wEiRd. I’ll just go to my car at 2:00 AM and sing along with Kim Deal, screaming “WHEN IRIS SLEEPS OVER, IT’LL BE ALRI-YI-YI-IGHT”. Thank you for the Breeders for creating this eerie masterpiece. And thank you for reading.
I love this song oh so very much. And I hope you do too.
Please help yourself to a click and enjoy a live and studio version of the song below.
Xx Ana Tame Xx
It’s been such a long time since I’ve heard music that ChAnGeD and EmPoWeRed me. I mean, WOW, thank you Kathleen Hanna, Billy Karren, Tobi Vail, and Kathi Wilcox for changing me forever. The whole album, Pussy Whipped, is amazing. But for right now, I’m going to share my love for a track off of Pussy Whipped titled: Star Bellied Boy. Aaaaaaaaaand I’m going to start off with talking about the lyrics cause it’s inspired by a Dr. Seuss book, and if that’s not a good enough reason, well, then I just don't know.
He said he wanted to
Just touch you
He said he wanted to
Just touch you
Star bellied boy different from the rest
You're so different from the rest
Prove you're different from the rest
You're no fucking different from the rest
(I only wanted to believe we are all free)
And then he said "Why wont you fuck me?"
And then he said "Do me do me do me"
And then he said "I'll be your best friend"
And then I said......
I can't I can't I can't cum
I can't I can't I can't cum
I can't I can't I can't cum
I can't I can't I can't cum
Star bellied boy is a reference to a Dr. Suess book titled “The Sneetches”. It’s the story of the self-proclaimed “superior” star bellied sneeches and the plain bellied sneeches. But in reality there wasn’t a difference between the two (*see video below for full episode of the sneeches). Same goes for our star bellied boy. He claims he’s so different, and he’s not like other guys. But he only goes on to disappoint by being uncomfortably pushy about having sex with him.
I think what’s so great about this song is that any woman can relate to these lyrics. This song is a collective fuck you to any “fuck boy”, “player”, “asshole”, [insert any colloquial term for a man who tries coercing women to have sex with him by any means] national anthem. “I just want to hang out.” “I just want to touch you.” These are common lines we hear when no apparently doesn’t mean no. I guess it’s not enough to be visibly uncomfortable and verbal about not wanting to have sex with someone?
The “Why do I cry every time that I cum?” line can be interpreted in so many ways. TO ME (I’m merely interpreting these lyrics. Please don’t attack me. THANKS) it may apply to sexual assault survivors who have debilitating and uncomfortable feelings about sexual intimacy. Or maybe perhaps it’s about the coldness of sex with a ma(sshole)n who’s uncomfortably pushy, which can make a woman feel guilty, empty, or quite possibly like they can’t cum.
Of all the songs on this album, this song is probably the most hardcore. I’m not saying that to disregard the other songs or make it seem like they suck in comparison to this one; I just love that the most hardcore song on Pussy Whipped was inspired by a Dr. Seuss book. I’m pretty sure he would’ve been honored, as I am to just even write about this band. I love how everything about Bikini Kill and the riot girrrl movement is unapologetic, just as these lyrics and aggressive instrumentation. It’s a fuck you to the nauseating macho punk scene, and it’s an anthem for girls, women, ANYONE who felt disenfranchised by punk music we all so love. In the words of Dr. Seuss, "I'm so sorry if I'm alienating some of you. your fucking culture alienates me." Ehhh maybe that was Kathleen Hanna; I forget.
This song is so overwhelming in the most wonderful way. With every couple of seconds that pass during Hyperballad, element after element is added, creating a song that has layers upon layers of texture and color. The futuristic elements of the song based on the psychedelic trance genre seems to add a sort of coldness to this song that adds interesting texture with the usage of an array of synth effects. The melodramatic and romantic elements that are mainly based on the folktronica genre add a sort of warmness to the song with its nostalgic tone. The unification of these genres seem tied together with Björk’s unique and captivating voice; it stands up perfectly to the production of this track.
The subject matter of the song only emphasizes the beautiful thought process behind this track. Björk responded to fans on an AOL group chat in 1995 and described the meaning of the song.
“The critical time in a relationship, which usually happens after 3 years, and I can see all around me with all my friends. It's got to do that when you fall in love it is so precious to you, you never know this might be the last time, so your behaviour towards the loved one becomes very sweet and you go somewhere else to be aggressive. Because I believe that all people have got both sides. So you end up having to unload your aggressions at a bar or by throwing cuttlery off cliffs. So you can come back to your loved one, kiss him sweet on his cheek, and say happily, 'Hi honey.'”
I appreciate Björk painting an honest picture of what a relationship is like for a lot of people. Wallowing and engaging your own negative thoughts on your own is a way to achieve a more positive persona; in a way it’s like releasing any negative energy you may have. Björk gives the listener a most entrancing scene of this in her track, Hypeballad. Please check it out if you have the chance.
P.S. The link to her answering AOL questions is below.
Xx Ana Tame Xx
This is a woman who almost single handedly opened up the gates of hip hop for other women. Lil Kim unapologetically served explicit and raunchy lyrics, while simultaneously eliminating the sexual double standards that were placed on women. Women during this time very rarely left the R&B bubble, making Lil Kim’s debut album Hardcore (1996) a liberation in a way. R&B was the closest thing a woman could get to being able to rap with the boys during the 90s, and this idea was bulldozed by Lil Kim and her contemporaries like Missy Elliot, Da Brat, Mary J Blige, Eve, Lauryn Hill, and more. I’m not saying Lil Kim is the first woman to rap about the double standards of oral sex or reversing gender roles, but she was one of the first to breakthrough with mainstream success.
So here I go highlighting “Big Momma Thang”, one of my favorite songs from her debut album, Hardcore (1996). This album received an interesting backhanded compliment from Rolling Stones saying, “The album's overreliance on old '70s funk samples doesn't detract a bit from the Queen Bee's fearless rhymes.” I mean, Come on. This was a time where there was an explosion of sampling in the hip hop era; so, ticking off some points from this album for sampling seems a little short sighted. I really dig the sample in this song from “Was It Something I Said(1978)” by Sylvester. The funkadelic bass line from Sylvester’s song was used as the foundation for “Big Momma Thang” and was complimented by a traditional hi-hat and snare beat combo. A melodic synthesizer acts as a finishing hook to the instrumental completing this g funk** inspired instrumental.
I linked the sample below with the song below. Feel free to check it out and let me know your thoughts by clicking on the article title above to comment. Thanks!
**g-funk or gangsta funk is a subgenre of rap with west coast roots. It essentially took 70s funk and added artificial instrumentation to create instrumentals that are almost exclusively tied to west coast rappers like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Eazy-E, Warren G, etc.
I cannot get over the instrumental in this song! In comparison to Fu-Gee-La this song gets very little attention, which is so funny to me considering they both have an extremely similar beat. The producer of Fu-Ge-La, Salaam Remi, has stated that the song was meant to be a focal point of the album. So, the beats on both of the songs naturally have the same type of sound. "We actually were working on a song for Spike Lee's Clocker movie that actually, that song never came out. So we had a song that we did for Clockers, and then during that session, Wyclef was like, 'Yo, play that beat you did for Fat Joe!' And Lauryn was like, 'Yo, play the Fat Joe beat' and then when I played it, Clef jumped up and spit the first verse to 'Fu-Gee-La.' He had the verse, but it just fell all together and then we worked on it. That song was actually done prior to The Score, so a lot of The Score’s vibe was based around what that song was." There’s this simple hi-hat, bass drum, and snare combo, which is paired with a looping flute in the background. It’s so simple, but it keeps the listener captivated the whole time.
This song and the album it’s featured on, The Score, was an interruption in the 90s rap era, and it gave The Fugees a spotlight for their mix of reggae, r&b, jazz, and hip-hop influences. Although collectively they each contributed to the success of the group, Lauryn Hill held a huge role in defining who the Fugees were. She’s an amazing rapper regardless of her gender, and whether it be singing a melodic hook in How Many Mics or dissing MCs for stealing the Fugees’ vibe in the same song, Hill’s voice always rounded out the Fugees’ sound.
xx Ana Tame xx
*Please click on the article title if you wish to leave a comment or scroll below. Thanks!*
The song’s origin is from an incident at a Hole concert where Courtney Love was crowd surfing and ended up getting sexually assaulted by the crowd. Love was wearing a dress and in photos appeared to be smiling, triggering people to say she was “asking for it” and that she “enjoyed it”, despite her later comments on those pictures saying she was actually terrified.
Courtney love spoke about the incident’s relation to the song in an interview saying: “We had just gotten off tour with Mudhoney, and I decided to stage-dive. I was wearing a dress and I didn’t realize what I was engendering in the audience. It was a huge audience and they were kind of going ape-shit. So I just dove off the stage, and suddenly, it was like my dress was being torn off of me, my underwear was being torn off of me, people were putting their fingers inside of me and grabbing my breasts really hard, screaming things in my ears like "pussy-whore-cunt”. When I got back onstage I was naked. I felt like Karen Finley. But the worst thing of all was that I saw a photograph of it later. Someone took a picture of me right when this was happening, and I had this big smile on my face like I was pretending it wasn’t happening. So later I wrote a song called “Asking for It” based on the whole experience. I can’t compare it to rape because it’s not the same. But in a way it was. I was raped by an audience, figuratively, literally, and yet, was I asking for it?"
I love hole and the album this song is featured on, Live Through This, for the raw sound that’s fueled by Courtney Love’s voice. Instrumentally the song isn’t exactly trailblazing; in fact, I feel like the melodic guitar played throughout the song reminds me heavily of something that would’ve been in the album In Utero by Nirvana. Stylistically there are a lot of similarities, and it’s also worth noting that these two bands were contemporaries of one another; similarities, of course, are bound to come up. I still really appreciate the light hearted melody that's paired with menacing lyrics and Love's vengeful voice, both of which are used by Hole to constantly create this contrast between hard and soft. It’s clear Hole was aiming to make a mainstream impact with this album, losing a little authenticity but still keeping the same intensity it had in their debut album, Pretty on the Inside (1991). Regardless, this song is still impactful with lyrics that are sadly still relevant today and vocals by one of the best singers in the grunge era.
If I had to make a playlist of songs to listen to while looking at the stars, there’s no doubt Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1) by Outkast would be on it. The instrumental to this song is amazing; I’m actually surprised that it has only been sampled once (by J.Cole “Land of the Snakes). The synthesizer and bass bring a galactic, starry vibe to the instrumental, while the drums add a jazzy feel. It’s a prime example of Outkast’s underrated ability to mix funk, jazz, electronic music and hip hop.
The lyrics and the instrumental combine for a story time from two of the greatest lyricists in rap, Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Most Outkast songs tend to have an anatomy to them; the verses are killed with amazing wordplay, and the song is brought together with a catchy hook that forcefully makes you bob your head; this song is no exception. Outkast’s powerful influence in 90s rap eventually leaked into the 2000s and present day rap, making them trail blazers in a unique subgenre of rap. This song and the album it’s featured on, Aquemini, will forever be a staple of 90s music.