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Music

Now kids, sit around and I shall tell you a story.

I was listening to Suede on my iPod on a beach in South Carolina last spring break. I had found this compilation of British music from the 1990’s at my local library which introduced me to Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, and a great many more. I just closed my eyes and pretended it was 1992. I’m so infinitely cool, I know.

The particular song from that compilation that strangely led me to feminism was Metal Mickey by Suede. It’s pretty catchy:

I had to find out what on earth dashing lead singer Brett was singing about. Google told me that Metal Mickey had been written about some band called Daisy Chainsaw.

I quickly looked up Daisy Chainsaw on Wikipedia. Courney Love was a Daisy Chainsaw fan? Wasn’t Courtney Love the wife of Kurt Cobain, I asked myself? Wikipedia described Daisy Chainsaw as being an influence for riot grrrl bands, though it was not directly aligned with the movement. Whatever that meant.

After another google search I happened across the riot grrrl manifesto, which completely changed my entire life.

After reading it I was like YES YES YES! I felt free. I walked down the beach and felt like I was truly myself, and like I had just stumbled upon something absolutely fantastic.

I pasted a copy of the riot grrrl manifesto inside my locker at school, so that if anyone tried to hurt me in any way I could just look at it and say “Eff patriarchy!”
and feel so much better. Because if you’ve ever tried to be a 12 year old girl who doesn’t fit the norm it’s hard.

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I went from wearing skinny jeans that made my hips bleed to wearing sweatpants and skirts and whatever the heck I wanted. I questioned the world around me and became so much more comfortable with myself, my sexuality, my body, my everything. Because society made us expect certain things of each other that just aren’t healthy. Girls are told to be “feminine” and boys “masculine” and that’s that. But who says we have to follow that? Girls and boys, if you’re reading this know that gender norms are a pile of rubbish.

I know that riot grrrl wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t completely inclusive and according to Courtney Love via Wikipedia it was too doctrinaire and censorious. But can’t we put this aside and just appreciate what a positive influence it was in certain people’s lives (ahem, mine)?

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Kathleen Hanna and company taught me that I can be who I want. They gave me power in a time when it was not easy to even be alive. Thinking you’re the queen of the neighborhood is pretty awesome.

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From Rookie.

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A picture from the very best concert ever.

Oh my gosh Arcade Fire.

I can’t even begin.

I saw them for the first time on the Grammy’s. They were the weirdest band ever, all French and energetic and neon.

Through iTunes Concert Tracker I found out that they were doing a concert in my area. I begged my dad to buy me tickets, and for whatever reason he actually bought them.

The concert was the most beautiful thing ever. To my dying day I will remember the way my knees got all wobbly as I walked in and The National (the opening band) was playing. The lead singer had this baritone voice that kind of bores into your soul. I almost felt like crying for the entire set.

I will never forget Regine’s sparkly dress or the way the crowd literally EXPLODED for the last song. Or the way everything smelled like aloe shampoo.

After two hours of watching Arcade Fire cry and sweat and dance and sing, I was a changed person. There was this whole world that I didn’t even know about, which had suddenly just come running up and knocked me over.

After that I spent all of my free time listening to Arcade Fire, watching them do these adorable interviews that I literally thought about for days after, and practicing violin so I could one day have similar levels of violin virtuosity to Sarah Neufeld. My Arcade Fire t-shirt is still one of my prized possessions.

Also, their whole aesthetic of broken-down, suburbia, the backs of signs, rust, combined with neon and brightness and noise really seriously affected me.

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As well as their earlier weird folk black and white creepy film noir aesthetic with trees.

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It’s amazing the effect music can have on you at the right times in your life. Even though I no longer live for Arcade Fire, the whole experience has sort of shaped me and how I look at music.

What band(s) have you been (are you) obsessed with?

I made a rainy day playlist, as it is raining and I obviously need a playlist for every type of weather:

Track list:

1. I Luv the Valley OH! by Xiu Xiu (pronounced shoe-shoe, something I didn’t know for a while.)

2. 2 by Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland

3. Southern Point by Grizzly Bear

4. No Tear by Perfume Genius

5. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi by Radiohead

6. Rainy Days and Mondays by the Carpenters. I GREW UP WITH IT OKAY?!!!

7. How Long Have You Known by DIIV (the dashing young sweater-lads down a bit in this post)

8. All Good Naysayers Speak Up… Or Forever Hold Your Peace by Sufjan Stevens (Or as I affectionately refer to him, Soofjay)

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I actually love it when it rains. And, like, actual rain. None of that “drizzling” stuff.

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All the best movies involve rain or at least gloomy weather and water.

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Makes me want an obnoxiously baggy sweater like the singer guy from DIIV.

Actually, I kinda want an obnoxiously baggy sweater anyway, in any weather.

I kinda associate baggy sweaters with music that has lots of reverb in it. Like, Henry’s Dress made such  sweater songs.

Henry’s Dress – Hey Allison

That song’s just a warm, fuzzy, sweater.