Most of my records, CDs and tapes sit idly in crates and on shelves, so here's what I'm going to do: Every so often, I'm going to dust one off and see what it sounds like. Dredge the archive, and take a good long listen to something I haven't heard in 2+ years.
Tonight, I begin the experiment with a randomly selected record: Sleater-Kinney's All Hands on the Bad One, which I'll admit I haven't listen to in three years. Maybe four.
Here's the thing about Sleater-Kinney and me. I'm probably one of the very few San Franciscans (of a certain age and neighborhood) who *likes* them but doesn't *love* them and sometimes wishes they would cool it with the too-often shrill vocals. But of course everyone knows they're politically-active feminists who play punk rock, so what's my problem?
Let's talk about Bad One. It's got great moments: the title track and "The Professional" are rockin and fun — even after five years, they're a couple of the all-time great songs to listen to while riding a bike. The problem is that, for the most part, this album is huge step away from their early, raw sound, which had a lot less Heart-esque power ballad voice. Songs like "Milkshake n Honey," and "Ballad of a Ladyman" feature this voice, which for me is the element of their sound that rocks the least. (It comes down to this: If Carrie Brownstein harmonizes with Corin Tucker on a song, chances are that I'll like it).
I'll say something nice about them: I saw them move the crowd in a serious way at Dolores Park one summer. Their fans were freaking out, and the band itself was having fun and sounding good — even songs I didn't like were pretty great. I really wish their albums captured this better. But like anything, their sound can't be all things for all people, and they seem to please some group of people everytime they put out an album, so more power to them.