Mixtapes for Hookers

2002. Nobody Figures Like You Figured Songs #6 Out
September 2, 2009, 11:06 pm
Filed under: design of a decade, lists, music | Tags: , ,


[My top 10 favorite song pairs of 2002 continues with songs from the year’s best ominous protest albums.]

6. Pedro The Lion, Indian Summer, and Sleater-Kinney, Oh!

Listening to Pedro The Lion’s Control album is like listening to the Sunday services of a one-man doomsday cult.  Everything I do is wrong, everything the government does is wrong, we are all going to die, there is no hope.  Human emotion is dead, the family is dead, the Earth is dead, even the priests don’t know what to do.  Each song is a story written with the subtlety of a forest fire.  It’s a loud and ugly album–very punk, for all its nerdy Mormon tendencies.  It was also pretty shocking for me, since I was only familiar with their excellent (and very subdued) 1998 debut, It’s Hard To Find A Friend.

Indian Summer may be the most heavy-handed song of all on Pedro The Lion’s third full-length.  In the first verse, a happy family scene is ruined by talk about inheritances and corporate cum.  In the second, a politician gives a speech:  “It’s my pleasure to announce, in conjunction with the Fed and my recent popularity, thanks in part to Mother Nature, it will never rain again.  It should do wonders for the GNP.”  Preachy, yes, but sort of chilling during the post-9/11 recession and even more frightening now that the economy’s gone to shit and real-life businesspeople are actually trying to control the weather.  The whole album is hard to listen to, but I’m still drawn to Bazan’s ever-earnest conviction.    (This week marks the release of Curse Your Branches, the first album Bazan recorded under his own name.  I’m pretty excited to hear it, though I haven’t yet.)

Sleater-Kinney also got a lot more political in 2002, a distinct change from the group I fell in love with via catchy relationship songs like One More Hour and Little Babies.  When the One Beat album came out, I wrote a review of it that exceeded 3,500 words.  While the CD has its flaws, and while I’m still far more inclined to listen to the more approachable Dig Me Out or All Hands On The Bad One, One Beat is worth the challenge.

9/11 simultaneously made me more political and more frightened of politics.  That year I was going through a rough patch personally, dealing with a rough transition from dorm life to my parents’ basement, and my social life was such that I returned from class every day to write bad short stories and listen to My Bloody Valentine.  I was bothered by the sudden omnipresence of 24-hour news stations in places like Dunkin Donuts, and I spent most of my time philosophically analyzing the lyrics to every song I liked. So while I was intrigued by angry political songs like Combat Rock and One Beat, I was far more drawn to the goofy Step Aside and the less politically overt Oh!, which, like the trio’s best material from the nineties, mixes gender-neutral relationship stuff with delightful harmonies.


Pedro The Lion, Indian Summer
Pedro The Lion, Penetration
Sleater-Kinney, Oh!
Sleater-Kinney, Step Aside

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