Song: Modern Girl
Riot grrrl bands are, in terms of music style, always associated with rage, anger, bitterness, loud guitars and screamy vocals. But luckily, Sleater-Kinney’s music have never been that easy to categorise. Their fantastic arsenal of tunes doesn’t exactly fit into a single category, yet you can always recognise a common, genuine essence. A collection of beasts awaiting to be unleashed, but the attack can arrive in very different forms: a voice howling from the wilderness, a guitar erupting fireballs of magma, a drum beat thundering the night. Or in a completely unexpected way. That’s ‘Modern Girl’.
Sweet, simple, tuneful, a pop little tune with hints of folk (that guitar, the harmonica throughout the track) that it’s cheerful and overtly happy…. Wait, happy? Keep listening please. What makes this modern girl joyful? At first, her joy seems base on the acceptance of her lover “My baby loves me / I’m so happy / happiness makes me a modern girl”. Then it’s a TV which makes her closer to the world (reality is what we see on screen). Then it’s a doughnut with a hole as big as the Planet. A fake, depending identity based on image, things you can buy (you are always hungry) and man’s romantic love. That’s what define a woman? Of course not. Not with Sleater-Kinney.
Drums enter, Brownstein’s vocals get transformed. Music and lyrics announce the change. Rebellion is here. Against all the cliches and despicable social limitations upon woman. The almost lullabesque coda has now changed “My baby loves me / I’m so angry / Anger makes me a modern girl”. A REAL modern girl has to be angry, has to be committed against the role society has designed for her. “My whole life was like a picture of a sunny day”, Brownstein summarizes. An empty postcard (that you see everyday on videoclips, ads, Tv, movies, etc.) of a life that’s not your own. But luckily, there’s a riot going on, leaded by riot modern grrrls. Never a song so sweet on the surface has said so much about how fucked this world is. Still meaningful (in my opinion, more than ever), Sleater-Kinney are not just another great band that has returned. They are a great and NEEDED band.