Friday, May 20, 2011

90's Hit Parade #63

Bis - I'm a Slut

If there's one band from the 90's that I think should get more attention, it's Bis. Man, they're so great! On their early records, they play Ramones-y punk rock with amazing youthful energy and cheer, and a hint of 80's new wave and disco. It's like a new generation of punk rockers erasing all the anti-disco sentiment from the scene. Then, this evolved into practice, because by the time 1999 rolled around and they released the AMAZING Social Dancing, they were able to actually reproduce that 80's disco sound, but play it with that same youthful happy-punk energy. So go out and buy you some Bis!

I was considering the earlier track "Kill Yr Boyfriend," and I think the two songs should be considered together. "Kill Yr Boyfriend" is a pretty basic punk rock attack on guys who are "beating you all the time" and "crap in bed." "I'm a Slut" attacks a more subtle expression of patriarchy, a guy whose overbearing jealousy makes a relationship impossible:

why can't i wear makeup tonite?
don't really think my t-shirts too tight
going out, can't let me out your sight
can i see my friends without a fight?

In the chorus, she sings "You tell me I deserve this/cuz I'm a slut/and I provoke you to do/these things to me." I don't think she means he literally told her that, but that his actions are telling her that, and the character in the song accepts it:

tell me when i talk i am a flirt
i agree, i prefer the long skirt
how nice of you to let me not work
i'll do anything to make you not hurt

That's a pretty strong social critique, but what's really impressive is how much the song makes you want to dance around the room like a spaz.


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