Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A Bikini Kill reissue holds the band’s best song, but not its best material

Illustration for article titled A Bikini Kill reissue holds the band’s best song, but not its best material

Back in 2012, Bikini Kill announced the formation of its own label, Bikini Kill Records, as well as its intention to release every single song, demo, performance, and record it ever recorded. That sounds well and good, and Bikini Kill is a great and important band, but like a lot of other great and important bands, not everything it wrote or recorded was absolute perfection. That’s completely evident on the newly reissued and expanded Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, which the band originally released as a split LP with Huggy Bear in 1993. While the record contains some of the band’s best songs, it’s not the group’s best material as a whole, something that unfortunately colors even the record’s biggest jams.

Take, for instance, “Rebel Girl.” The feminist song is one of Bikini Kill’s best, a call to arms for queer women, for weird women, and for self-confidence. “White Boy,” the album’s opener, is another Kill classic, with its found audio intro and framing around some bullshit patriarchal chatter. On 1994’s The C.D. Version Of The First Two Records, Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah was paired with the band’s eponymous EP, and tracks like “Rebel” paired with cuts like “Double Dare Ya” and “Carnival” to build the group’s feminist rumblings into a deafening roar. Here, Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah’s seven original tracks are paired with seven fairly lacking unreleased cuts, which ultimately diminishes the powerful message.

While some of the new stuff is intriguing—“Fuck Twin Peaks” has a compelling title, even if the recording is so muddled that you can’t really decipher any of the song’s lyrics—other material is only partially formed at best. “I Busted In Your Chevy Window” is more of a slam poem set to guitar tuning than an actual song, and “George Bush Is A Pig” features vocals from male band member Billy Karren, something that makes the song stand out more than it probably should. It’s a shame, since tracks like “Rebel Girl” and the growling “Jigsaw Youth” are sharp, perfect encapsulations of the band’s manic methods, accented with Kathleen Hanna’s iconic wail. It’s not that Bikini Kill needs a greatest hits record, but the archive-style inclusion of some of the group’s unfinished, unpolished material is more of a distraction on the LP than it is an asset.