Friday, October 21, 2011

90's Hit Parade #19



Sleater-Kinney - I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

The great Sleater-Kinney album is, of course, 1998's Dig Me Out, but "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" from their second album, Call the Doctor (1997) is probably their strongest single (stiff competition from "Your No Rock-n-Roll Fun"). The great strength of the band has always been the way Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein's voices and guitars interact. Here, Carrie sings the verse in her scruffy pop-punk style, Corin belts out the chorus, punctuated by Carrie's screams, which function something like a horn stab. The two singers examine the intense passion of rock fandom from both sides, the verse sung by the kid in the audience, the chorus coming from the star on stage (or maybe the kid projecting herself into the star's spot). There are so many little bits you could unpack in these lyrics. Like "It's your-our-ours/Now I'm so bored." Is that about how corporate cooption makes music less "special?" Or "Invite you back after the show." Is that in an indie rock sense (I'm going to be one of those cool rock stars that hangs out with the kids afterwards and offers words of encouragement so they can fulfill their own dreams") or the arena rock sense ("What's yo name, little girl, what's yo name?")? I mean, all the context clues tell me it's the former, but it's kinda hot to imagine those lyrics being sung as a sexually predatory rock star.

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