Sunday Sounds

My apologies for not getting this post up earlier in the day!

Let’s get some ladies up in the mix… Here is a song by one of my favorite bands. Several months ago I actually went to a talk/book signing for Kim Gordon’s (bassist/vocalist) most recent book, Girl in a Band, and I was given the chance to speak with her for a few moments after the event. I shared with her how I felt about many of her lyrics and that I was studying philosophy and actually incorporated one of her songs into a piece I composed on Simone de Beauvoir a couple of years ago. She responded by letting me know how cool that was because writing lyrics, apparently, never came easy to her. She would often sit and read texts on 19th and 20th century French philosophy and that is where she would get her inspiration for her lyrics.

That was a really rad experience for me. Anyway, below is one of the group’s songs and I’m pretty sure it will not take long before you guys pick up on the political and feminist tones.

Kool Thing sittin’ with a kitty
Now you know you’re sure lookin’ pretty
Like a lover not a dancer
Superboy take a chance here
I don’t want to, I don’t think so
I don’t want to, I don’t think so

Kool Thing let me play it with your radio
Move me, turn me on, baby-o
I’ll be your slave
Give you a shave
I don’t want to, I don’t think so
I don’t want to, I don’t think so

Yeah, tell’em about it,
Hit’em where it hurts
Hey, Kool Thing, come here, sit down
There’s something I go to ask you.
I just want to know, what are you gonna do for me?
I mean, are you gonna liberate us girls
From male white corporate oppression?
Tell it like it is!
Huh?
Yeah!
Don’t be shy
Word up!
Fear of a female planet?
Fear of a female planet?
Fear, baby!
I just want to know that we can still be friends
Come on, come on, come on, come on let everybody know
Kool thing, Kool thing

When you’re a star, I know you’ll fix everything
Now you know you’re sure lookin’ pretty
Rock the beat just a little faster
Now I know you are the master
I don’t want to, I don’t think so
I don’t want to, I don’t think so

Kool thing walkin’ like a panther
Come on and give me an answer
Kool thing walkin’ like a panther
What’d he say?
I don’t want to, I don’t think so
I don’t want to, I don’t think so

Enjoy!! 🙂

-Ashley

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5 thoughts on “Sunday Sounds”

  1. “Like a lover not a dancer
    Superboy take a chance here”

    I can’t help but think that that line is asking to love her as a person, and not exploit or be exploited like a dancer. Dancers often perform to be looked at, as if on display. Like dolls. Simone de Beauvoir especially did not like how we compare ourselves to dolls.

  2. I’m assuming that the line ” kool thing walkin’ like a panther” is a reference to the black panther party and the “kitties” are the women who support the party. Gordon, speaking for the “kitties” in the black panther party, is asking what they will do to “liberate us girls/from male white corporate oppression”. Even though the “panthers” will fight the oppression of the “white man,” it is important that the “black man” doesn’t reproduce the violence the “white man” does towards women. The “kitty” can still be a “slave” to the “panther”. The white man may have the “fear of a black planet,” but Gordon is asking the black man if they have the “fear of a female planet.” The fight against “male white corporate oppression” is not fought in a single front, but is fought on multiple fronts (race, gender, sexuality, class, etc.). The “kitty” must be an equal to the “panther” (“like a lover not a dancer”). Essentially, Gordon is highlighting the importance of intersectionality in politics.

    1. The song is about an interview she did with LL Cool J. She tried to talk to him about punk and rap, but it turned out he had no idea what was going on in the interview, no idea what was going on in punk, and no idea about rap. He’s also pretty okay with being a constant sellout. LL Cool J is the little kitty; she’s calling him out for being a phony. “Walking like a panther” is a reference to “Walking with a Panther.” Chuck D is also there for that reason, standing in for LLCJ. He acts (uncharacteristically of his normally enthusiastic and outspoken self) oblivious and nonchalant, channeling LLCJ’s attitude and insubstantial responses in the interview. He chimes in without really saying anything (e.g. “word up”). “Fear of a female planet” is an indirect reference to Public Enemy, but Chuck D only says it in the song after Kim Gordon does, like he’s just participating and trying to say what he thinks she wants to hear, like in the interview.

      Basically, Kim went into the interview as somewhat of a fan, tried to pick his brain, and found that all he cared about was people-pleasing and staying relevant. He pretends to care about feminism and civil rights, but he’s more about whatever attention he gets from associating himself (however loosely) with the Black Panthers or any sort of genuinely rebellious attitude. His whole attitude toward music and the interview is phony, and Kim Gordon is ridiculing him for it.

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