Hey Awesome Album Review is a look back at the albums released by the bands I love between 1991 and 2014.
Each review will be written while listening to the album, and I recommend you listen along as well. Each review will also be awesome.
Today we are reviewing Bikini Kill’s Revolution Girl Style Now!, released on cassette in 1991. I was a little torn on adding Bikini Kill to the list of bands for Hey Awesome Album Reviews, because sometimes I can’t stand riotgrrl era stuff (especially Sleater-Kinney, holy shit, don’t even get me started), but I enjoy Kathleen Hanna and I am in favor of the ladies, so this will be good. Plus, they did a lot, I think, for a lot of people. And that matters.
All in all, my final rating for this album is a 7.1. It’s mostly for the message.
To listen along with this review, use this playlist: Bikini Kill – Revolution Girl Style Now! (Grooveshark)
Tape Hiss. Miss that. Never was it able to make a tape recording and not get that tape hiss. I don’t care how good your tape player was. So, Kathleen Hanna. On her first recordings that I’m aware of. She really set the stage for that sort of low, droning, wavy girl voice. It’s not sultry, it’s flat, so it’s not like you’re seeing some lounge singer, and I’m sure that’s not even what she’s going for. You can sort of hear what Courtney Love is ripping off in this song. The Pacific Northwest… what was in the water up there? I get that scenes form, you watch someone do something, and you say, “I’ll try my hand at that”, and the next thing you know, there’s 9 bands all doing their own brand of riotgrrling. That’s how life is, in general. Artists do it, chefs, comedians, whatever. As long as you do it relatively uniquely.
That was a lot of talk that has nothing to do with this song. This song. The main theme, in Bikini Kill songs from the early days, is sort of that “You’re a creepy guy, and I want you to know that, but I’ll also use my girl prowess over you”. Is this off base? We’ll see.
“Daddy’s Li’l Girl”
Oh the title of this one alone. Get me a therapist couch. It dawned on me that writing all of these reviews (gettin’ meta for a moment) is going to let me peer into the psyche of a lot of different singer/songwriters. Troubled girl punk, lotsa issues. You don’t write a song like this unless you’ve seen some shit. And when you’re a kid and you hear this, I’d hope that if you found yourself in the boat where this song was a trigger or whatever, that it would help you know that someone else out there feels your pain.
As a guy, this song creeps me out. I apologize for men everywhere, but I don’t apologize for creepy dads. They’re gross.
Ahh yes, this song was a popular Bikini Kill song, right? It embodies that shrill, shrill voice. The flat monotone shrill, dogs-head exploding, crazy riotgrrlness. This is the song I feel like Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker heard and was like “I wanna do that”, but she took the elements of it that I can’t stand and accentuated them. Ugh.
The rawness of all these Bikini Kill songs are great, though. There’s so much variety coming in the first few years of these awesome bands, from the complexities of Built To Spill to the eccentricities of Enon and Archers of Loaf, and the simplest riffs and drums sometimes makes out the best.
Is it weird that I barely listen to the lyrics of half these songs? I just assume she’s talkin some atrocity. She most likely is. Checkin out the lyrics now…. Yep, everything thing we know is bullshit, and we feel blind. Close enough.
“Suck My Left One”
Girls everywhere who heard this song felt a certain level of awesome empowerment from this track. This is not a phrase that guys can use, unless they’re talkin about their balls. And if you’re gonna demand someone sucks your balls, they really oughta suck both of them. This song has so much angst in it, I like it. However, I did just notice she used the same “Ah Ah Ah” progression that she will use in the next track. Not callin her out on it, just sayin.
This song is just one huge middle finger. So punk, brash, pac NW style. And more daddy issues. Sorry shit went down that way, Kathleen. I empathize. I’m also glad you channeled it the way you did.
Out of all the Bikini Kill songs, I’ve heard this one the most. It definitely reminds me of the carnival. The carnivals of Claremont, NH. I never really got to see the seedy underbelly of the carnival though. I will instead live vicariously through Ms. Hanna. Carneys are scary. I’m not the kind of guy to put myself in actual scary situations. I did almost win a Motley Crue mirror though. By popping balloons. That weren’t very full. With dull darts.
When you get older, carnivals kind of suck. I don’t like spinning anymore. I do like corn dogs tho. So I got that goin for me.
“This Is Not a Test”
This song starts like a bratmobile song would. I like this energy. Sounds like something sort of surf-rocky, in a way, yeah? Kathleen Hanna’s “yaaahh” is like her signature shout. Like how Rihanna says EH EH EH all the time. Who would have thought I would namedrop Rihanna in a Bikini Kill writeup? Maybe it was subconsciouslly introduced because of Hanna. Hanna? Rihanna? Kathleen would eat Rihanna for fucking breakfast.
“Double Dare Ya”
Fuck yeah that fucking manifesto talk. This is the goddamn call to action. Girls, rise up and stab your oppressors. I DOUBLE DARE YOU. It would be odd to not have this sort of song on the album. Actual Lyrics: “You’re a big girl now, you’ve got no reason not to fight”. In today’s struggling gender issue riddled society, I think this sort of shit needs to make a comeback. Somewhere out there is a girl with a 4-track and the mentality necessary to start another wave of indie punk revolution. If only they’d stop shoving all this Icona Pop down her throat. That’s the ultimate dream. For me at least.
Punk as shit on this one. The Hanna soapbox treats her well. She’s come a long way, she said what she had to say, I think a lot of people were heavily influenced. Music and the message. I’m just rambling now. I’m trying to convey that I can appreciate that the people who want to be vocal about the way they think the world sucks have a musical outlet to do so. What was the first punk song? The first song to say “hey this is all bullshit, and open your fucking eyes?” If you have an opinion on that, I’d like to know.
Those screams tho, jesus, they torturing a seagull or something? christ.