Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love

No Cities to Love
(Sub Pop Records)

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To expand on a joke I heard recently, the ‘90s are truly back when gas costs less than two dollars a gallon, Suge Knight has (allegedly) killed someone, and Sleater-Kinney have put out a new album. No Cities to Love, the trio’s first album in ten years, is a scorching half hour of adrenaline and shouted intensity. This is what rock should be.

“Price Tag” is a brilliant choice of an opener, at once calling out capitalism and materialism. “Surface Envy” is a triumphant belter about overcoming adversity, and it could be seen as a renewed mission statement for the band with lyrics like “I’ll push twice as hard towards it you seeAnd the past falls away to the bottom of the deep.” Likewise, “Bury Our Friends” flaunts the band’s history in the industry while accepting and even celebrating their flaws.

But No Cities to Love is much more than empowerment and political confrontation. Once you get past the eminent catchiness of “No Anthems,” it’s easy to recognize that the song contains stirring metaphors (“I’m the locust telling you something’s amiss,” “I’m the sidewinder watching how to cut you down”). Sleater-Kinney’s power lies in combining short, spiky music with words that just feel great to shout. No Cities to Love is a great album and doesn’t deserve to be pigeonholed as a comeback or riot grrrl. A talented band took time out and came back all the stronger, and we’re lucky to have them.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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