TRACK MARKS BEST OF 2014: “Bury Our Friends” by Sleater-Kinney

This week, writers are recounting the best music of 2014. Today’s Track Marks focus on individual songs from albums that didn’t make our individual best-album lists.

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The above is an excerpt of my internal monologue when I found out Sleater-Kinney was finally reuniting. A lot of my recent writing and podcasting on the site have confirmed my worst fears that my tastes a little too grounded in my college years.  I might overrate what I listened to at the turn of the century, but you can never take the greatness of Sleater-Kinney away from me.

The best thing about Sleater-Kinney releasing “Bury Our Friends” as their first comeback single is I don’t have to say you had to be there, man. Everything that was and is superlative about the band can be found in this song:

  • Corin Tucker’s voice. FYI, hating Corin Tucker’s voice is the new hating Bob Dylan’s voice: you can do it, but you are making a cliched observation and contributing nothing. Why don’t you just do a Borat impression instead? Also, I happen to think you are wrong. Corin Tucker’s voice is huge and soaring and one of a kind.
  • Carrie Brownstein’s guitar work. I don’t know what kind of world we’re coming too when she is known more for her sketch comedy work than her tasty licks.
  • Janet Weiss. How do you describe sexism to people who don’t think it exists? Have them consider Janet Weiss’ resume and the fact that she’s rarely mentioned the conversation of the greatest/most influential/most dependable drummers of all time. She is just a monster. She doesn’t play a lot of fills or solos; she just lays down a tight beat with authority. Janet Weiss is so great sometimes you fail to notice her.
  • The interplay between all the above. If crusty old rock critics actually listened to how this band gave one another space to do their thing, a kind word would never again be written about the ‘sophistication’ of The Police.
  • All of this happens in a tight 3:20, reminicent of their classic mid period, circa Dig Me Out.
  • The sound, though, has the hugeness of their last album, the epic, Zeppelin-inspiried  The Woods. All the noise of overmodulation in service of the song, it’s hard to recognize this a three piece without a keyboard player or even a bassist.
  • The verses are everything great about their lyrics: personal yet universal, relatable yet inscrutable.
  • The chorus has the proud defiance of the  protest songs of their post-9/11 album One Beat.
  • Miranda July on the video!

Seriously, what more do you people want in a rock song?