Sunday, March 19, 2006

She Wants Revenge

I recently came across a new band that really drew me in.

I think I had gone to MSN to watch a video by the Arctic Monkeys, and the video ended, and a new one began. At first I was confused. The new video started off with the cursive phrase "She Wants Revenge":

The video then began in earnest, with a narrative story of a girl getting picked up by a guy to go to a school dance. Throughout, there is a strange dialogue between the two, all expressed with subtitles under the haunting lyrics of the song.

It turns out that the band is called She Wants Revenge, which is a pretty cool band name, in my humble opinion, and the song is called "Tear You Apart." I later learned that the video was directed by Joaquin Phoenix.

She Wants Revenge, whose website is linked above, is a relatively new band out of L.A. (they founded in 2005) and seem poised to reach even greater heights in the upcoming months as they open for Depeche Mode, a concert I wouldn't mind going to, but I already blew my live entertainment budget on 2 Pearl Jam shows in New Jersey in June.

I thought they reminded me a bit of Depeche Mode, but according to their wikipedia entry, they are compared more often to Interpol and Joy Division, at least vocally. I was also reminded a bit of Bauhaus.

Their new eponymous album is pretty good, from my eclectic perspective. I played several tracks for Melanie yesterday, and she didn't say anything about them, so I'm not sure if my opinion is shared in the household. If you don't want to check there videos out on their website, or on various other video outlets (MSN, Yahoo,, they are going to be on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in a couple of weeks. I'd love to hear some other opinions from readers about what they think of these guys.

One co-worker watched the video and seemed moderately interested. Another heard the music coming from my office and thought it was "weird."

I particularly like their lyrics, this one from "Tear You Apart":


Got a big plan, this mindset maybe its right
At the right place and right time, maybe tonight
And the whisper or handshake sending a sign
Wanna make out and kiss hard, wait nevermind

Late night, and passing, mention it flipped her
Best friend, who knows saying maybe it slipped
But the slip turns to terror and a crush to light
When she walked in, he throws up, believe its the fright

Its cute in a way, till you cannot speak
And you leave to have a cigarette, your knees get weak
An escape is just a nod and a casual wave
Obsessed about it, heavy for the next two days

It's only just a crush, it'll go away
It's just like all the others it'll go away
Or maybe this is danger and you just don't know
You pray it all away but it continues to grow

I want to hold you close
Skin pressed against me tight
Lie still, and close your eyes girl
So lovely, it feels so right

I want to hold you close
Soft breasts, beating heart
As I whisper in your ear
I want to fucking tear you apart

Then he walked up and told her, thinking that he'd passed
And they talked and looked away a lot, doing the dance
Her hand brushed up against his, she left it there
Told him how she felt and then they locked in a stare

They took a step back, thought about it, what should they do
Cause there's always repercussions when you're dating in school
But their lips met, and reservations started to pass
Whether this was just an evening or a thing that would last

Either way he wanted her and this was bad
He wanted to do things to her it was making him crazy
Now a little crush turned into a like
And now he wants to grab her by the hair and tell her

I want to hold you close
Skin pressed against me tight
Lie still, and close your eyes girl
So lovely, it feels so right

I want to hold you close
Soft breasts, beating heart
As I whisper in your ear
I want to fucking tear you apart

What I particularly find transfixing is the violent language of the last line of the chorus which seems to contradict (or correspond to?) the teen-age angst/lust combination that drives the song. It seems to arrive at a crescendo of emotion, and despite the imagery it evokes, I don't interpret it as a misogynistic cry for physical destruction, although strict structural feminists may disagree.

Anyway, look for these guys in the future to seep into a more recognized mainstream, as they get more notice, more airplay, and go out on tour.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Hey. I'm wondering how you could NOT interpret this as a misogynist song--unless, I suppose, you absolve the sexually aggressive/sadistic 'character' from responsibility due to mental health issues...I don't have a problem with rough sex; the problem I have is with the fact that, in this song at least, the focus is squarely on 'him,' and we see through 'his' eyes; at no point is her desire apparent, only his desire for her. It's objectifying women in the most straightforward sense of the word. The first time I heard this song it creeped me out on so many levels--ideological, personal, etc--that I turned the radio off.