Throwing Muses

1989: Sire 9 25855-2

  1. Devil’s Roof
  2. Bea
  3. Dizzy
  4. No Parachutes
  5. Dragonhead
  6. Say Goodbye
  7. Fall Down
  8. I’m Alive
  9. Angel
  10. Mania
  11. The Burrow
  12. Take
  13. Santa Claus

As with pretty much all of Kirstin Hersh’s songs, I rarely have more than a peripheral idea of what she’s trying to express or communicate, in this album’s tracks, but “Devil’s Roof” at least grabs my soul with its chords, which echo me back to the very early 1990s with alarming accuracy: there seems to have been a penchant in that time for such doubt-leaning struggles between major and minor chords. And that doubtward shift gave way to Grunge, I suppose (in retrospect). (And yes, I do get the gist of some of the lyric…but it still feels forced into unnecessary concealment by its author.)

And of course “Dizzy” is easily appreciated songwriting as well as a just-plain-fun rock track with its own story to tell; Hersh may disparage it, but she needn’t, because it’s also good to give the world some quirky brightness sometimes.

Still, I struggle with this idea that Hersh’s as-yet-undefined psychological disorders were just absorbed, without comment, by her fellow bandmates as they crafted a sound which conveyed those lyrics and became a Throwing Muses style with nobody (least of all Hersh, to hear her tell it) understanding what was being sung and expressed. Did nobody there ever say “hey, honey, what the fuck was that lyric all about? And why are we playing this song, anyway?”