Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Riot Grrrl Forever

The Julie Ruin
Run Fast

Grown up punk rock, which is to say adults who have that old punk, and in this case Riot Grrrl fighting spirit. You can dance, you can scream, because the music will never quit. It’s a rush, like a dam breaking. It’s such an up, and when it’s over, you play it again just because you don’t want this music to be over, to never stop.

That Kathleen Hanna could still do this while battling late stage Lyme Disease points to a spirit that encompasses more than rock. It’s a world view, and what a world it is.  Fun, righteously angry without losing their sense of humor, an uproarious celebration of all things feminist, 20 year removed from Riot Grrrl, and with guys thrown in for good measure.  It proves that feminism will never die as long as women, and men, still have things to fight for. Riot Grrrl was one of the best things ever to happen to feminism. It was feminism in a new way. Punk rock of any type, forced hardcore and other types of alternative music to examine its sexism and homophobia, even as there was a lot of resistance in the 90s.  It’s one big reason I stopped reading the rock press, indie and mainstream, in 1990. I couldn’t stand that anymore.  I still can’t, except for Magnet Magazine, The New York Times, and Robert Christgau.

One of the best things to happen this year was finally getting out of the 70s, and into a 90s revival, one that curiously doesn’t include grunge. Riot Grrrl was one of the first to get its due, along with the Breeders, Vercua Salt, That Dog, and Aimee Mann. I’m going to throw in Liz Phair. Are people still that angry about her pop album, ten years down the line? I say this not just because of Exile In Guyville, but because Liz is a sex positive feminist and proud of it.  That it’s women who get their due first as the influential musicians they are, without the “women-in-rock” crap, means that new ground has been broken for women everywhere. Never stop, all of you. And now Hanna is back, and better than ever.  May she live to 100, especially if she’s putting out music as wonderful as this.
Andrea Weiss

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