PRINT December 2015


Johanna Fateman

Still from Rihanna’s 2015 video Bitch Better Have My Money, directed by Robyn Rihanna Fenty and MegaForce.

1 RIHANNA, “BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONEY” (Roc Nation) I love Rihanna’s plaintive/murderous singing in “BBHMM” and the designer ensembles she and her associates wear in the video as they attempt to collect a debt. Their insane road trip begins with the abduction of a rich white guy’s white wife and ends with a shot of the pop star’s face splattered with enough inky fake blood to pen a thousand feminist think pieces.

2 MEREDITH GRAVES Speaking of feminist think pieces, Meredith Graves ignores or reinvents the form with her lucid and spontaneous cultural commentary. (Google her “CMJ 2015 Diary!”) She’s best known as the singer of the awesome, poetic noise-punk band Perfect Pussy, and now she’s got her own label and publishing imprint, Honor Press.

3 G.L.O.S.S. (GIRLS LIVING OUTSIDE SOCIETY’S SHIT) This trans-girl-fronted hardcore band from Olympia, Washington, raises hell as it raises awareness. G.L.O.S.S.’s January-release DEMO cassette became an instant legend and is now long gone—so stream the EP and order a T-shirt.

4 CARLY RAE JEPSEN, E•MO•TION (Interscope/School Boy) CRJ is living inside society’s shit—I mean, she’s working with pop music’s forever tropes of love and longing. I didn’t dare hope for another “Call Me Maybe,” but she’s totally outdone herself with this sparkly sophomore effort.

5 DRAKE, “HOTLINE BLING” (Cash Money/Republic) Remember when you used to call Drake on his cell phone (as opposed to his landline?), and he wouldn’t let you hang up once his Ambien hit, and he started singing creepy stuff over a Casio beat? He’s insufferable and pervasive but also amazing.

Heaven King and her dance crew performing to Silentó’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” in a music video directed by Tianne King.

6 MX. JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND, SWALLOW MY PRIDE (Joe’s Pub, New York, June 27–28) After the goddess dumped rain on this year’s dyke march, NYC really needed Mx. Justin Vivian Bond’s cover of the Indigo Girls’ 1989 crossover folk classic “Closer to Fine.” The song was the pagan trans-feminist coup de grâce of Bond’s wimmin’s-music-themed late night show.

7 SILENTÓ, “WATCH ME (WHIP/NAE NAE)” (Capitol Records) If you literally live under a rock, maybe you don’t know about Atlanta-based high-school rapper Silentó’s novelty hit and the dance craze it spawned. Fact: The video’s five-year-old star, Heaven King, and her dance crew have scored more views with a music video her mom shot than BBHMM has to date. The Whip and the Nae Nae (and the Stanky Leg) might be the only things uniting a divided country.

8 GRACE JONES, I’LL NEVER WRITE MY MEMOIRS (Gallery Books) This book is a great start, but we need even more platforms for the cantankerous superhero Grace Jones. As of this writing, it’s not too late for her to win the Democratic primary in the flashiest upset ever.

9 BOTTOMS, GOODBYE (Atlas Chair) With hooks like “I hate my body,” Bottoms can’t lose. The members of the angry gay band describe themselves as “two shitty drag queens, a 303 and a drummer”; feature a real-looking severed dick on the cover of their new remix of their debut EP, Goodbye; and cite David Wojnarowicz as a lyrical influence.

10 JACKIE FUCHS In July, when Runaways bassist Jackie Fuchs told her story of the night in 1976 when she was drugged and raped by the band’s manager Kim Fowley, she bravely debunked apologists’ image of him as a benevolent, if lascivious, eccentric. She also confronted the public’s condemnation of her traumatized teen bandmates’ inaction and a firestorm of cultural denial—the reflexive defense of crimes committed in the name of so-called rock ’n’ roll hedonism.

Musician and writer Johanna Fateman is a founding member of the band Le Tigre and a co-owner of Seagull Salon in New York. She is currently at work on a book about Andrea Dworkin.