• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Sleater-Kinney’s 10 (or Actually 11) Best Songs


Jan 19, 2024


Here’s another, subtler way the band protested the expectations of femininity in its music: Brownstein sings this faux-cheery fable of modern girlhood (from which she got the title of her 2015 memoir) in an increasingly agitated lilt, while around her the song sounds like it’s gradually corroding. “I took my money, I couldn’t buy nothing!” she concludes over Weiss’s blown-out percussion. “I’m sick of this brave new world.” (Listen on YouTube)

This is Sleater-Kinney’s subversive take on the girl-group sound:a bouncy, danceable pop-rock number punctuated with call-and-response backing vocals. Tucker, singing her tail off (what else is new?), asks, “Ladies, one time, can you hear it?” Brownstein and Weiss answer, to the beat, “Disassemble your discrimination.” (Listen on YouTube)

Quite a few songs on “All Hands on the Bad One” (“Male Model,” “You’re No Rock n’ Roll Fun”) skewer the stereotype of the macho, misogynistic rock star. On this satirical, acrobatically melodic track, Tucker sings from the perspective of one of those guys — who learns the hard way why his female fans shouldn’t be underestimated. (Listen on YouTube)

On this leadoff title track, Weiss’s urgent, commanding percussion sets the tone of “One Beat,” an album that deftly blended the personal and political. Tucker’s experiences as a new mother are woven through a ragged tapestry depicting post-9/11 America, questioning its sudden embraces of nationalism and conformity. “And you soothe yourself with the sounds you know,” Tucker sings, as she and her band offer the alternative of something jarringly and invigoratingly new. (Listen on YouTube)

The band turned its amps way past 11 on “The Woods,” its primal and pummeling seventh album. On one of its most powerful and poetic tracks, Tucker sings from the perspective of a suicidal person considering jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge, as Brownstein’s wailing guitar and Weiss’s furious drumming echo the tumult of her vocals. (Listen on YouTube)

Raw, trembling emotion courses through this tear-jerker from the band’s second album, “Call the Doctor.” Perhaps an unpopular opinion: Even more than the band’s beloved 1997 track “One More Hour,” this might be my favorite breakup song in the Sleater-Kinney catalog. (Listen on YouTube)


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