I’m not positive, but I’m fairly certain, I cried for-real tears the day I heard my favorite band, Sleater-Kinney, was going on an indefinite hiatus. Not only did their music narrate my entire college existence and it therefore makes me feel old to think they don’t exist anymore, but I hadn’t had a chance to see them live simply because I was afraid of running into my ex at one of their shows. Ladies, if there is one kernel of wisdom that I can impart on you in life, besides telling you to put Tabasco sauce on your popcorn, it is that you should never miss a concert for fear of running into an ex. You might end up dating them again after your favorite band stops touring and then you’re screwed. True story.
Fast forward almost five years and two babies later, former Sleater-Kinner frontwoman Corin Tucker is putting out a solo album, 1,000 Years.
It’s been almost a week since I was honored with a sneak preview of the LP and, initially, I had some mixed emotions. When I couldn’t get her song, “Half a World Away” out of my head for a night and woke up with it on my tongue the next morning, I realized how truly infectious this album is.
Now, based on first impression alone, it’s a solid album that lacks the heavy grrl power I came to know, love and idolize about Sleater-Kinney’s music. This is when I realized that Tucker’s vocals are a blessing and a curse in that they are so powerfully unique, it’s almost impossible for me to listen to her solo work with fresh ears. Read: I will do whatever I can to have another Sleater-Kinney album.
So, as an impartial reviewer, I knew I had to step back. Just like two siblings can share similar traits but remain individuals, The Corin Tucker Band and Sleater-Kinney must be kept separate.
Suddenly, my second first impression was a bit better. Songs like, “Doubt”, “Riley”, “Pulling Pieces” and “Big Goodbye” are stripped down rock anthems capable of making your face do the lip curl, your neck do the bobblehead and your shoulders do the shimmy – which is basically all I’m looking for in a good song.
Other highlights are “Handed Love” and “Miles Away," which include some ’60s organ sounds and piano balladry respectively and are a nice change of pace.
Not every song is a hit with my ears, but Tucker has grown. It’s not that she needed to mature for the album’s sake – but there are new themes of marriage and parenthood being explored. I suppose, for me, this is a fitting grown-up present for myself to, not replace, but accompany the soundtrack to my college years.
1,000 Years comes out Oct. 5 on Kill Rock Stars. For now, you can stream the album in its entirety over at NPR.com.