Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bikini Kill: Pussy Whipped [Kill Rock Stars, 1993]
The inspired amateur caterwaul of a thousand zine dreams, more convincing than the boys' version even if it isn't as good as it ought to be or as right on as it thinks it is. By now male hardcore bands feel obliged to at least master the fast four-four, which has its advantages but ends up formulaic. This music scorns all rules--there's no way to prepare for it. The primitive tunes stick like peanut butter to the barbed-wire sound, and while Kathleen Hanna stays calm on her love song "For Tammy Rae," she prefers to break her lyrics down into preverbal emotion--the big-dick grunts of "Sugar," the can't-come screams of "Star Bellied Boy," the scratch-your-eyes-out ululations of "Li'l Red." Ideological though their rage may be, it comes off rooted rather than received or rote, so they scare people. If I were young enough to have girlfriend problems, I might scrounge around for ad feminem putdowns myself. A-