The Trucks have gained one very skeptical fan in this writer. I can’t stand it when music is directed at a specific audience. I hated every single, critically acclaimed Sleater-Kinney album because I felt so completely alienated by their lyrics, their fan base, and often their message. I would go as far as to say that I felt unwelcome to enjoy many all-female bands.
Similarly, I remember hearing rumors years ago that Lauren Hill had ranted passionately about not wanting anyone “white” to listen to her music. Although I’m sure that whatever the exact quote leading to the rumor was, it was more than likely taken out of context. But nonetheless, I haven’t had the urge to purchase any Lauren Hill albums since.
The point being, when someone writes for a specific audience, they run the risk of alienating another audience. Sometimes this might be a desired affect. Who knows, maybe the ladies of Sleater-Kinney—who I feel I should mention, I respect the hell out of—could care less that I didn’t feel as though their music was something that a heterosexual, teenage boy could identify with. Maybe Lauren Hill would rather never sing another note than sing to an audience of me. But it does have an affect, desirable or not.
The Trucks managed to avoid making me feel alienated. While they definitely do speak to young women, they don’t suggest that all men are idiots, or that they’re all sex-hungry, violent drones. Their songs tackle subjects that high school health classes and music television seem to timidly dance around.
The second track on the album—following a brief introduction—is delicately titled “Titties.” It opens with a light dance beat, followed by a little heavy breathing and a west-coast, indie-synth line that borders between appropriate and cliché. But then the vocals come in twenty seconds into the track and set a tone for the rest of album with the lyric, “What makes you think that we can fuck, just because you put your tongue in my mouth and twisted my titties baby?”
The lyrics firmly plant a foot in the album and immediately let the listener know that the Trucks have some important things to say. Sexual empowerment is an important tool for women. The ability to be a sexual decision-maker was something that women in the States didn’t have just a short fifty years ago. And although the message going out to women from women in many genres in music these days is one of empowerment and self-ownership, many other areas young women learn from aren’t touching on it at all. The film and television industries, and most importantly schools, are still teaching women that they are either a good girl or a slut, a message that good girls do as they’re told, and anyone who doesn’t do as they’re told is a bad girl. So it is important that women in the arts are putting out the message that it is okay to be as much of a player as any man. It is okay to fuck, and to say fuck off. Sex doesn’t have to be promiscuous, and non-monogamous sex doesn’t have to be taboo. If you do consider it wrong, that judgment shouldn’t be gender motivated.
That being said all too briefly, The Trucks are not some generic, “girl-rock” band, writing twenty, one minute long, riot anthems for sixteen year-old girls. The album is a well rounded mix of hip dance tracks, well-educated punk morals, and ballads that manage to come across as sincere and thoughtful.
If there is one recent trend in northwestern indie music that I’ve absolutely hated, it’s the insincere ballad that was obviously added to an album only as a sorry attempt to give it a sonic arc of some sort. Give it up. Let it go. Not every band has a ballad in them.
Songs like “Comeback” though, bring to mind artists such as Cyndi Lauper and Madonna (early Madonna). In fact, I would be totally satisfied if you replaced the Cyndi Lauper song from The Goonies with the aforementioned Trucks track. I think the scene would still have me slow dancing with myself in my living room every time. These songs are well written and show a ton of talent and maturity.
If you’re from the Northwest and haven’t watched The Trucks get a party going yet, then you have no excuse. Get your ass to a show and sweat with these girls! There is an honesty in their performances that is both passionate and easy to fall in love with. They’re doing it well, and they’re doing it hard. The art on the album—which you can pick up and learn more about at Myspace.com/thetrucks—was done by Xylophonist Marissa Moore of The Trucks, and makes it completely worth buying the album and not just burning it from a friend.
—Kennith J. Ball