Song 231: Sleater-Kinney, “Oh!” (2002)

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Whenever I hear “Oh!” (or really, any Sleater-Kinney song), I think about how thrilling it is. Even when they’re playing a slower, quieter song, it provides something like an electric spark. They’re like energy in the form of sound.

I love the Sleater-Kinney songs that sound like deranged bubblegum music, like “You’re No Rock ‘n’ Roll Fun” and this song. On both tracks, it sounds like the band is wrestling with a dark side in hopes that the light side will prosper. There are lots of explosions, but there are also moments with harmonies and lyrics like “Nobody lingers like you longer on my heart.” It’s certainly not what I would call a dark song, but there’s a fierce edge to it, the kind that makes me wonder what they’re up to.

I’m bummed that Sleater-Kinney’s no longer around, but Wild Flag, a band that features two-thirds of Sleater-Kinney plus Mary Timony and Rebecca Cole, carries the dark bubblegum torch just fine. I hope they continue to do so for a while.

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