I have been there. The 90s, I mean, not Portland. Though I’ve been there, too. Good donuts. (Thanks Portlandia for the lede.) In fact, if you take one look at this website’s tagline, you’ll know that I even get stuck in the 90s occasionally.
I was there during a time when Riot Grrrl and Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney mattered a lot. But I didn’t know exactly why at the time, I didn’t quite understand how vital the words and how sharp the music made by these women were. How strong the lyrics, how fierce the guitar and how propulsive the drums.
Because then it went away. Hiatus land. A sad place.
And over that time, we started to miss Carrie, Corin and Janet. They hadn’t gone far, mind. Separately they helped Eddie Vedder and Steve Malkmus, Peter Buck and The Go-Betweens, made solo albums, created Portlandia and formed Wild Flag among other projects.
Then just this year, Sleater-Kinney dropped this perfect-sounding, potent alt-rock album called No Cities to Love, that rollicked and raged. The Goddess saw all that they had made and she said it was good.
“I’m not the anthem, I once was an anthem/That sang the song of me/But now there are no anthems/All I can hear is the echo, and the ring,” they sing in “No Anthems”, and it’s a lie because all Sleater-Kinney songs are anthems in a way.
And so, here we are again, singing anthems, reliving music that continues to be brave and strong and sound better from its time away. From “Price Tag” and “No Cities to Love” off the new album, then cycling back through important history with “Call the Doctor” and “Dig Me Out”, Sleater-Kinney rallied and made us remember why they need to exist in more than an idea, and always be a reality. \m/
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