It could be very easy to say that most feminist topics are clichéd at this point. However, we live in a society where the U.S. has yet to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (first proposed in 1923,) and a woman’s reproductive choice is slowly being whittled away at the whim of our current Republican-led government. Feminism is not a lost cause, and these topics still need to be addressed and written about until we make true progress. Kathleen Hanna, Johanna Fatemen, and JD Samson know this, and have crafted Feminist Sweepstakes, a 13-track album of feminist dancecore ferocity.
Sweepstakes plays well from beginning to end; super-fuzzy guitars, perky synthesizer lines, and chunky drum-machined beats pepper the tracks with buoyant energy and unite them into a solid collection that’s equal parts danceable and thought-provoking. With the rallying cry of “Feminists, we’re calling you” in “FYR,” Le Tigre chronicles some of the “progress” we’ve made in the last 20 years, from “election fraud in poor ZIP codes,” to “celebrat(ing) gay marriage in Vermont by enforcing those old sodomy laws.” “Much Finer” laments that depressed day where “things are fine and they’re gonna get much finer,” and “On Guard” bemoans how hard it is to even walk down the street without being appraised like so much merchandise.
Still, there’s no reason why you can’t dance while promoting political activism, and Le Tigre produces some of the most infectious booty-shakin’ beats around. They’ve even written their own tour theme – the piano-driven “LT Tour Theme” in which they claim their stake as the “band with the rollerskate jams” and then inquires “won’t you dance some more?” “Fake French” has fun traded-off vocals (“I’ve got… the new sincerity”) and “Keep On Livin’” is wonderfully life-affirming with its uplifting shouty chorus.
Perhaps the only misstep on Sweepstakes is “Cry For Everything Bad That’s Ever Happened,” an instrumental whose quiet sorrow seems out of place with the rest of the beat-driven tracks. Overall, Feminist Sweepstakes is a reminder of how far we need to go and that we can dance to get there.
Mr. Lady Records: http://www.mrlady.com