Vague VisagesWatching Sleater-Kinney perform 25 years into their existence, it’s clear we need them now more than ever. Amid social upheaval and a resurgence of overt prejudice and bigotry, artists willing to carry the flag of resistance are essential.”
The world needs Sleater-Kinney now, more than anytime ever, as their reliance stands for speaking out the truth, and standing up against sexism, racism, and whater-ist, as Vague Visages said.
Music had always bonds people together, and so does the evolution of Sleater-Kinney, and the memoir of her founder; Carrie Brownstein, tells the story of that all. Throughout her sensitive, individualistic, and peculiar nature, Carrie walks on, from being the daughter of an ill mother, to a sexually confused father, to Pisa delivery cleric, to a deep feeling of misfiring, and yearning for a sense of belonging, connecting, and a claiming for an experience, that is bigger than herself, through that all, Sleater-Kinney, the punk Girrl raito band, which was named after a street, exists! Throughout Carrie’s memoir, we will accompany her, throughout her journey.
Child psychology, and human needs:
The American psychologist, Abraham Lincoln, had come up with his hierarchy of human needs, which builds up, from the basic needs for security and safety, from wars and poverty, to the need of self-actualization, and providing oneself.
And between the top of the hierarchy, and the bottom of it, comes the need for love, belonging, and connections as the second need of Maslow’s hierarchy.
Carrie grew up sober for this specific need, that seems to be taking the charge, of all of Carrie’s motive, for self contribution, reliance, and self-actualization, and a sense of significance, through self-experience, and a sense of purpose.
Reading this book gave me an inner insight towards Carrie‘s psychic, knowing where she has come from, what struggles she had overcome, what shapes a great deal of the themes of her music and her lyrics, which mostly evolves to an honest and authentic self-expression, about rage, loneliness, love, impulse and wanting to make out, and that’s exactly what I appreciate about Sleater-Kinney, it’s their own way of moving you, and shaking the experience.
Knowing the early influences on Carrie, Bikin Kills, Madonna, and how music arises as self-soothing mechanisms, and how through it, it transfers a kind of inner emotional agitation, to more of a creative piece of art.
Just as the title of this memoir “hunger” which implements the impulse which mostly colored cleared life. Carrie’s constant yearning for a sort of higher validation, a sort of condolences, for all the things that goes on in her life, and that happened through writing letter to celebrities, specifically Elizabeth, from the band 7 hours bitch:
I had written to these actors were inappropriately long letters explaining how I didn’t get along with my mother, or about her illness, three or four pages, all of it maudlin. They could have reasonably assumed I was pitching a plotline for an upcoming season of their show. Or maybe their mailboxes were actually full of letters expressing a dissatisfaction like mine, of feeling mismatched and misshapen, at odds with a place, with a body. Maybe these actors had a bin labeled
Throughout this memoir, we follow the mental evolution of Carrie, as an artist, as a musician, as a woman, and as a human. We follow on this memoir the wax and wane of Sleater-kinney, their peak point, and their separation, and lots of insight about their albums.
Performance as an act of bringing order:
As a way of escaping the chaotic environment of Carrie’s household, prefomanring brings with it a kind of structured formality, because it contains begging, and a finality, and reorienting the attention from a sad disturbing event, to a more playful and entertaining one.
The tales behind the albums:
Sleater-Kinney has released ten albums, in the last two decades, some of the stories behind the albums which were realized before 2015, were contained in this memoir, some of which are:
The self-titled album, and the name of the band itself, which Corin Tucker has come up with, has come up from the name of the street which has the same name as Sleater-Kinney.
One day I got to my house and Corin had left me a message on the answering machine saying that we should name the band Sleater-Kinney. I knew “Sleater-Kinney” as the name of the road near which we had a practice space, a building not in Olympia but in the adjacent town of Lacey, which blistered with rundown chain stores and shoddy annual carnivals. At the time, I don’t think we planned on doing much with this band; there was very little deliberation, no long list of potential names or backup ideas. Sleater-Kinney is a strange name—it sounds like a law firm or, as Lorrie Moore pointed out in one of her books, a hospital. We’re none of those things, nor are we relatives of the Sleaters or Kinneys. But in the end the moniker could be whatever we wanted it to be. It could embody whatever and whoever we were.
Call the doctor, 1996
On the last day of mixing Call the Doctor, Corin and I lay on the floor and listened while John played the album back in its entirety. I remembered thinking that we had made a decent record, that I hadn’t heard anything that sounded like this before. I don’t think I ever really felt that way again about one of our records, simply able to enjoy it without any hyper- or self-criticism. Call the Doctor is not our best record, but it was the last one written before any sense of external identity or pressure. When I heard it back, it felt like anthems we’d written for ourselves.
Dig me out, 1997
Half of the album Dig Me Out was written in my apartment on South Capitol Way in Olympia. Corin came up from Portland and sublet a room in a nearby house. We sat around on my cheap pleather furniture in a living room with wall-to-wall industrial blue carpet and wrote “Turn It On” and “Little Babies.” Lance had come to visit and I felt distraught. Corin was in a new place, falling in love. Still heartbroken by me. I wanted her to stick around, but she was gone.
Though Corin and I had split up, there was never a question we wouldn’t stay together as a band. That also never gave us time to process the end of the relationship, except within the songs. Nearly every song on Dig Me Out is either about me or Lance—which probably seems obvious to any listener or fan of the band who knows even a modicum of backstory. Even if you didn’t, you could listen to a song like “One More Hour” or “Jenny” or “Little Babies” or “Turn It On” and know that these were songs about love and desire, both lost and found. But I didn’t know any of the songs were about me. In my ability to compartmentalize and subsume feelings, I blithely focused on the melody, the riffs, anything but what was actually being sung. And if I did tune in, it was with a psychic distance and detachment. Who is “Jenny”? Who is the person with the “darkest eyes” in “One More Hour”? Certainly not me.
One beat, 2002
One Beat is often characterized as a “political” album, which speaks to how long it took for musicians—especially in the mainstream—to address or make sense of the xenophobia and jingoism that took hold of the culture post-9/11. One Beat was one of the earliest. Yet the common thematic thread on the record is less overtly political and more an exploration of faithlessness, of trying to uncover hope or meaning in a time that was very, very bleak
Serving without spelling the tea:
Being a graduated from Sociolinguistics school, which is all about the structure of words, and how we communicate with each other, sure had its impact on the way of writing. The style of this book is written in outlines, in chapters that serve a bigger picture, with the personal details which never serve the case being banned, in the age of social media and lack of privacy. This book is about invisibility, about misalignment
All we ever wanted was just to play songs and shows that mattered to people, that mattered to us. Music that summed up the messiness of life, that mitigated that nagging fear of hopelessness, loneliness, and death. That night, we played for a roomful of the people who understood that very thing. Once again, I felt privileged, lucky
Many of the chapters out there are very relatable, and it hits home, the confusion of being labelized, your own gender expression, the struggles of bonding with someone on a romantic level, the agitating anxiety of yearning for a place to belong to, and yearning for a sense of significance, the broken family, the addict of being productive, and workaholic to numb your restlessness, the compassion pets gave us, the company of the books to soothe our loneliness, dealing with a therapist for anxiety and depression, the rage for self-destruction, and the tension between your friends to lovers, to friends again.