The more things change, the more they stay the same. Or so wrote a French critic named Alphonse Karr back in the 19th century, and damn if I don’t agree more and more every year that my life trips on. Personally, I hate change, so when something new comes around that takes me back to a thing I’ve loved I’m quite happy. Upset’s new tune “Glass Ceiling” from their upcoming EP, ’76 is just that kind of change/same: nostalgia and new ideas; simple chords and clever lyrics; punk rock and grrrl power. The band carries some pedigreed personnel with bandmates Ali Koehler (Vivian Girls), Patty Schemel (Hole), Rachel Gagliardi (Slutever) and Lauren Freeman (Benny the Jet Rodriguez) all bouncing and driving forward together. And this song has the best of that DIY feeling found in abundance back in the day, by which I mean early-mid 90s. There’s the immediate sense of “Hell, I could do that” yet a respect for the fact that I probably couldn’t–or at least not as well. Showing the rough edges was what I always found attractive in the bands I’ve loved, and when there were role models involved (read: a woman doing it right alongside the guys), I would put that under the microscope.
While Upset’s “Glass Ceiling” is 3:36 about leaving an unhealthy friendship, Kim Gordon’s new autobiography Girl in a Band is 288 pages that starts right at the moment an unhealthy relationship is coming to an end, then circles back around to the stuff that dreams, nightmares and, basically, life are made of. And it’s an incredibly riveting life at that. Again, it’s a moment of “Hell, I could do that” but oh no, Kim Gordon’s intelligence in the face of change is exquisite. The writing style is dry to the touch, but the words are all depth and bounce and I’m reminded that the voices of all these women who laid down a foundation and started a tidal wave of alternative sounds and styles will just keep on livin’ whether it’s a song, an album, a book, an art project, you name it.
I’ve no doubt that the stories Ali, Patty, Rachel, Lauren and Kim have to tell will inform for generations over and over and over again. Keep em comin’ ladies!