Sunday, April 04, 2004

#23) Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out (released in 1997, I bought it at Arboria in the fall of that year due to the deafening hype and the appealing photos in SPIN. Perhaps they were my Duran Duran...)

Songs about girls that rock you so hard you feel vulnerable by girls that rock you so hard you feel vulnerable! The guitars are even more razor-sharp than on Call The Doctor, thanks to growing musical confidence and the sturdy pulse of new drummer Janet Weiss. The first two thirds of the album are simply their snappiest material to date - assured, anthemic and chaff-free (hard to believe today, but most of their stuff used to be under three minutes long) - but it's the last third that really kills me. The blistering holler of "Not What You Want" is followed by "Buy Her Candy," with the rock energy you've taken for granted gone completely, leaving nothing but Tucker's anxious need to connect over minimal bits of guitar and drums. Then the power surges back slower and grander than before on "Things You Say," with Tucker both surrending to it and adding to its strength (Brownstein's voice adding subtle but crucial assistance). "Dance Song '97" gives you a slight respite with its uptempo bop and dinky organ sounds, but the slow, near-plodding closer "Jenny" pulls the carpet from underneath your feet, forcing you to squirm helplessly as they rake their guitars over your skin, reminding you of chances lost and emotions felt. By the end you need to be dug out all over again.

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