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The Carrie Brownstein Project

So it is now 10:18 at night on the second day of the Carrie Brownstein Project, and I have a couple declarations to make. First and foremost: Sleater-Kinney needs to get back together. Just as Trey mistakenly characterized Phish as taking away from his family and keeping him on the juice, Corin Tucker is wrong in thinking Sleater-Kinney will draw her away from her family. How about two weeks of rehearsal and live show in front of 100 people streamed live on the Internet? Think of all the cool S-K parties in bars and apartments. Think of the joy you will spread, ladies. Isn’t that why we all play music, to excise our demons blue and remedy the people’s strife? Do that every couple years, and you will make a bunch of people happy.

My second declaration/admission is that I have been listening to Miles Davis for the past 12 minutes. Listening to music, and a wide variety of music, is important to my health. I am so lucky to review albums for I am so lucky to have a mom who is a music teacher. I am also so lucky to have the relationship with music I have, though I can now understand how it can fill a much narrower role. While I was listening to only Sleater-Kinney, I did not feel like listening to music all the time as I normally do. If music is solely an emotional band aid, then it becomes narrow and subjective. If music is the poetry through which you understand life, it relates to everything.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I am now back to listening to S-K with a cushion of 33.3, Tortoise, and Nils Petter Molvaer.

Men listen to music differently than women do. It is a wonder concerts aren’t gender-specific. Men approach music with an analytical and technical lens. Women approach music on a purely emotional level.

David Goldstein writes “While I’ve never really been able to relate to Sleater-Kinney on [an emotional] level, I will say that their earlier material, say, definitely their first three records and to a lesser extent The Hot Rock, were far more on the feminist/riotgrrrrl spectrum….though not as much as Corin Tucker’s previous band, Heavens To Betsy, whose harrowing Calculated record definitely captured an early 90’s moment in time. I will say that there’s definitely an emotional aspect to their music that I’ll never be able to completely grasp because, well, shallow as it sounds, I’m not female.”

A fan who lives in my area writes “I immediately fell in love with their sound after listening to a couple of their songs. I had never heard such a raw sound come from a band comprised of only a few girls, and that was very inspiring to me as a female. Their lyrics struck a chord with me during some really tough times in my life. They sung about subjects such as sexism, war, god, suicide, love and of course heartache; all of the things a woman often thinks about and is saddened by. For so long I had listened to rock bands fronted by men, so it was refreshing to finally hear words I could relate to. Their songs gave an authentic woman’s perspective without being ultra ‘sweet.’ I would listen to their music and think to myself ‘yeah, shit happens and the world is not a pretty place, but hell, there is always tomorrow.’ It got me through the bad days, no sugar-coating needed.”

When I ask her if she thinks a man could ever fully relate to S-K on an emotional level, she responds: “I wouldn’t say that it’s not impossible…but it’s rare. Men, or at least 90% of the ones I’ve known, aren’t overly emotional beings. Society and its sexual roles are in part to blame for this. Even my current boyfriend critiques music based purely on its technicality and nothing more. I have never viewed music in that way. It’s the overall emotional feeling a song provokes and how I can relate to that feeling that draws me into it, whether it is technical or simple in form. For example, when I am in a good mood I often listen to S-K’s ‘Modern Girl’ or ‘Oh!’. However, when I’m pissed (usually after a break-up) it will be something more raw, such as ‘The Fox,’ that helps me release those types of feelings. The lyrics also play a huge part in the overall feel of a song. I think the majority of other women also connect to music in this same way.”

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