Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A song for every year of my life #17: 1993

I got my driver's license in 1993. I didn't have a car so I spent a lot of time driving my parents', a brown station wagon that was nobody's idea of any adjective used to describe an automobile worth describing. I drove it alone at night many times, feeling sad and bitter and self-righteous and lonely and superior and inferior, antsy to finish high school and get the fuck out of town. I dubbed a lot of my favorite CDs onto cassette and listened to them as I drove the brown station wagon aimlessly around town and on nearby highways and country roads. Frank Black's first album, Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, and Dinosaur Jr's Where You Been got heavy repeat play. 1993 was also the year I started listening to a lot of female artists. The grunge boys club of my recent private hit parade started making room for PJ Harvey, Liz Phair, and Kim Deal, among many others. Music journalists at the time often wrote about how blunt and scary and intimidating Harvey and Phair and Kathleen Hanna's lyrics were. I never understood all this verbal pantswetting from grown men (if rock critics can ever really be grown men). I felt a kinship to Harvey, Phair, Deal, etc., and idolized them just like I did their male counterparts. I didn't find them or their words scary. On the other hand, high school girls terrified the shit out of me. They were the scary ones. I didn't know where they were coming from, and most of the time I felt like they were brazenly making fun of me in code. Oh, the terror. High school is a bad four years that can go on forever if you let it. On a related note, no one really understands what the fuck happened to Liz Phair.
Hey everybody, it's The Breeders' "Invisible Man."

Alternate choice: "My Curse." One of the most male of bands, The Afghan Whigs, give a woman, Marcy Mays from Scrawl, the floor for five minutes on one of their most male of albums (Gentlemen), and it's probably the greatest five minutes of her career as well as a definite highlight from one of my favorite records of the 1990s.

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