Album #442 – Cut
The Slits’ first album, Cut, has a very ironic title. Also, it’s album cover is very provocative almost giving meaning to the fact that many found punk rock to be very primitive in terms of quality and artistic value and also found women to be on display and not true to themselves. None the less, the Slits are important because they are the only ALL female punk band on this list. The only male member was the drummer, Budgie of Siouxsie and The Banshees but, technically he only drummed on this album and wasn’t an official member. Fronted by the late Ari Up, the Slits had just as much energy as their male counterparts in punk music but, their music was very music indicative of the Riot Grrrl movement that would spring up in the next decade. The Slits were part of a wave of female artists that inspired that movement and proved that women were becoming an important voice within the punk movement and that they should be individuals, not robots and slaves to the male-driven agenda. Ari Up’s vocals are a mixture of Yoko Ono, the lead singer of Nena, Bjork and Nico. All those voices are present in her singing style. In fact, you could say that Up’s singing style is a rebellion against the way a woman should sing. Up actually grew up around rock musicians including Jimi Hendrix and Jon Anderson of Yes. Her mother was well known in the music industry. John Lydon would end up being her step father and Joe Strummer taught Ari Up her first guitar chords. Not bad for a punk rocker. The Slits sound is a mixture of punk, post-punk and reggae. Their songs are very similar to their male counterparts but, from a female point of view. My favorite song off the album, Typical Girls, displays this perfectly. Ari Up repeats the title with such disdain, almost mocking the typical girls she had been subject to deal with. But, the song also shows how hard it is to be a girl: “Typical girls try to be typical girls very well”. That is an important statement to make during this time. Punk rock allowed women to escape the role of a typical girl and be themselves. This would be toyed with over the next decade but, the Slits presented something that would slowly change how women were perceived in music. It took awhile for the rest of the world to catch on. Other highlights include: Instant Hit, Spend, Spend, Spend; Shoplifting, Newtown, Love und Romance and Adventures Close to Home. Overall, I give Cut, 4 out of 5.
Next: Armed Forces by Elvis Costello & The Attractions