1. I am still behind the optimal word count for today for NaNoWriMo, but I have more time later tonight. I am still enjoying these characters, and that’s pretty darn awesome.
2. My kids have a shared language of common experience, like the Star Trek episode, “Darmok.” This does not surprise me, since this is what ALL tight communities do — families, friend circles, religions, whatever — even when the community is comprised of two. I merely love listening to them converse in their jointly created tongue.
3. It turns out that the band, Girl in a Coma, is going to be here at First Avenue this month — on a day I am driving to Chicago. Blast and darnation, I say.
4. I’m not sure what to do about the growing trend of sighing, eye-rolling, and stomping that my daughter is using to express mild displeasure. Weed it out now, obviously, but it’s the tactics I’m unsure of. I am unwilling to be as unpleasant to her as she is to me, merely because that would make me hideously foul-tempered.
5. I recently listened to the album Light Me Up by the band The Pretty Reckless. My first thought was that these songs shared something with both Ke$ha and She Wants Revenge.
You see, what Ke$ha and She Wants Revenge both do is they take themes in songs by other artists to the logical end. They state the implications. Many artists write songs about partying and dancing and being sexy. Ke$ha — in a way that is entirely self-aware, if you read her interviews — simply describes the looks, actions, and attitudes implied by others.
Similarly, She Wants Revenge takes the mopey, self-absorbed lyrics of such artists as Depeche Mode or The Smiths to the implied result — a narrative protagonist who sees women only as props in his own life, as goddesses or victims or harpies, but always in relation to himself. The lyrics are both deeply creepy and laughably over-the-top at the same time. Much like Ke$ha.
The Pretty Reckless struck me this way at first. In their songs we have the narrative protagonist of The Girl Who Wears Too Much Eyeliner. You know the one I mean, right? In fiction this is the snarky and sarcastic friend that the pretty, timid protagonist meets when she moves to the new school. Or perhaps they grew up together, and one is now conventionally successful and the other smokes and sleeps around, or is rumored to do so. Think Rayanne on My So-Called Life.
You know. Too Much Eyeliner Girl.
Light Me Up is like the secret diary of this girl that she knows no-one will ever read. It’s confessional, if confession also doubles as bragging, and if bragging also doubles as a plea for help. It is a raft of cliches floating on a tumbling sea of raw emotion, until it’s not so much that the lyrics are cliche. Instead of being trite the songs move into art much like finger-painting. Everything is big and sloppy and in primary colors of anger, betrayal, pride, and self-loathing.
I couldn’t tell if it is supposed to be conscious parody or not.
Going to the Bio page of the band’s website, I have tentatively concluded that this is not conscious reification of stereotypes. This isn’t She Wants Revenge, making explicit what was merely winked at before. Or, rather, The Pretty Reckless are making explicit a story previous told mostly in the margins. But I don’t think it’s self-conscious meta-art like Ke$ha. I think it’s heartfelt and sincere, and that makes me like it more.
I’m thirty-eight, and I wince a bit at some of the expressions of emotion The Pretty Reckless use. But it’s a wince of recognition. All the poetry and song lyrics I wrote between the ages of thirteen and twenty-two are gone from the face of the earth. But I meant them at the time. I can’t begrudge, or be ashamed, of being the person I was and feeling the things I felt. I don’t have a leg to stand on in criticism of Taylor Momsen, the lead singer and lyricist for the band. She knows what she feels and she is talented enough to share that with an audience through her band. More power to her. I’m glad I have the album.