Le Tigre (album)

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Le Tigre
Studio album by Le Tigre
Released October 26, 1999
Genre Electroclash
Length 31:44
Label Mr. Lady
Producer Chris Stamey, Le Tigre
Le Tigre chronology
Le Tigre
(1999)
Feminist Sweepstakes
(2001)

Le Tigre is the debut studio album of American electroclash trio Le Tigre. It was released October 26, 1999 on Mr. Lady Records. The album combined pop music with the band's feminist political lyrics. It received positive reviews from music critics.

History[edit]

Fateman, Samson, and Hanna performing in September 2000

Le Tigre was formed by Kathleen Hanna, Johanna Fateman, and Sadie Benning. Hanna lived with Fateman while the two were in a band called the Troublemakers. Hanna had collaborated with Benning on a video for "Aerobicide" from Hannah's 1997 album Julie Ruin.[1] The three of them originally planned to come up with a live format for Hanna's songs as Julie Ruin, but they transitioned into making music.[2]

The band constructed songs using inexpensive electronic equipment. Fateman explained that they chose equipment with which they were unfamiliar to show "girl-punk scorn for that particular strain of male expertise associated with electronic music."[3] Le Tigre produced the album with Chris Stamey of the dB's, who helped the band rearrange songs through digital editing. Hanna and Fateman knew the founders of Mr. Lady Records from their time in Portland, Oregon. They chose to release the album through Mr. Lady because of its political engagement.[2] When Benning was unable to tour in support of the album, the band removed her from its lineup and added JD Samson.[4]


Composition[edit]

Le Tigre '​s music spans 1960s pop, punk rock, and lo-fi new wave.[5] The band members listened to pop and hip hop music while making it.[6] Le Tigre plays Farfisa organs, samplers, turntables, and guitars on the album.[7] Many of the album's beats were programmed on an Alesis HR-16b drum machine. Fateman stated that she found the use of a drum machine liberating because "it makes you self-sufficient."[6]

The album incorporates the band's political beliefs; Hanna commented that she wanted "to make something that's totally pleasurable and political too."[1] "My My Metrocard" criticizes New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani,[8] and "Hot Topic" praises progressive activists.[9] The band emphasized frankness and didacticism in its lyrics as a response to the ironic tone of hipster subculture.[6] Le Tigre's vocals often carry a bored or soft-spoken tone, punctuated by more energetic bursts.[10] Their use of girl group chants was likened to 1960s group the Shangri-Las.[11] Hanna was influenced by the vocals on old records by Lesley Gore, the Shirelles, and Connie Francis. She explained that she was fascinated by "what it would be like to be a woman with way more constraints than we have now, singing these really fucked-up insipid heterosexual love songs."[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[12]
Pitchfork Media (8.5/10)[13]
PopMatters (8/10)[14]
Robert Christgau A[15]
Spin (9/10)[11]

The album received positive reviews from music critics. The Village Voice writer Robert Christgau wrote that "Hanna does the unprecedented—if not, apparently, impossible—and reinvents punk again."[15] AllMusic described Le Tigre as sounding "like the best new wave album not to come from the 1980s."[12] Pitchfork Media called the album's songwriting "less didactic than Bikini Kill's…geared for the repeated listens these well-crafted pop songs beg for."[13] Spin magazine said that the album "sparkles with a joie de vivre more bubbly than a pink champagne" and continued that "the sound is as charming as the stories they tell."[11] It named Le Tigre the 10th best album of 2000.[16] PopMatters described the album as "a record in which bristling punk-pop tunes target listeners with confrontational, thought-provoking messages."[14]

The album placed 28th on the 2000 Pazz & Jop list.[17] Le Tigre is listed in the reference book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[18]

Songs[edit]

The song's lyrics allude to "Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)" by Barry Mann.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Opening track "Deceptacon" alters[how?] the titular question from Barry Mann's 1961 single "Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)".[19][20] It denounces a decline in meaningful lyrics in rock music.[13] Hanna expressed frustration that riot grrrl had been transformed into icons like the Spice Girls.[21] The song was popularized by online videos of its "aerobicon" choreography.[6] "Deceptacon" was featured in the 2006 Norwegian film Reprise, the 2003 skateboarding film Yeah Right! and the 2014 animated film The Book of Life. The song sparked a collaboration between Le Tigre and Christina Aguilera.[22]

"Hot Topic" was released as the album's only single. It is a list song of people whose work inspired the band. The song encourages them to continue on behalf of progressive women.[23] It combines the sounds of doo-wop, Japanese indie pop, and new wave.[24] Hanna described "Hot Topic" as analogous to a college syllabus in its ability to pass on awareness of works to others.[7]

"What's Yr Take on Cassavetes" uses filmmaker John Cassavetes to depict the conflict between public figures' work and their personal lives.[21] It opens with a solemn spoken passage asking "how you really feel about it".[11] The song breaks down into a shouting match that labels Cassavetes with the terms genius, misogynist, alcoholic, and messiah.[25][26] "My My Metrocard" is a go-go song about escapism and exploration.[9][12] It uses a call-and-response pattern to condemn Rudy Giuliani, whose policies against quality-of-life crimes the band opposed.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Le Tigre. 

No. Title Length
1. "Deceptacon"   3:04
2. "Hot Topic"   3:44
3. "What's Yr Take on Cassavetes"   2:22
4. "The The Empty"   2:04
5. "Phanta"   3:14
6. "Eau d'Bedroom Dancing"   2:55
7. "Let's Run"   2:34
8. "My My Metrocard"   3:07
9. "Friendship Station"   3:04
10. "Slideshow at Free University"   2:48
11. "Dude, Yr So Crazy!"   3:26
12. "Les and Ray"   2:06

Track list error on reissue[edit]

The first two bonus tracks listed on the back cover of the reissue have "Hot Topic" then "Deceptacon". These songs are actually listed in the wrong order, as the song "Deceptacon" is on track 13, and "Hot Topic" is on track 14. This information is matched by the CDDB, but was fixed in the iTunes Store.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Weeks, Laurie (2000). "Kathleen Hanna". Index Magazine. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Jenkins, Mark (April 21, 2000). "Le Tigre: Hear Them Roar". The Washington Post. p. N08. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Fateman, Johanna (May 28, 2013). "New York Stories: Johanna Fateman". Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ Saller, René Spencer (October 5, 2000). "Tigre Beat". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  5. ^ Holub, Annie (October 5, 2000). "The Eye Of Le Tigre". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d Ferris, Glen (May 22, 2014). "Le Tigre's Johanna Fateman dissects Deceptacon". Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Chute, Hillary (December 28, 1999). "More, more, more". The Village Voice 44 (51). Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ Carpenter, Lorraine (December 2001). "Le Tigre Know The Politics of Dancing". Exclaim!. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Carpenter, Lorraine (November 2004). "Le Tigre Raise the Stakes". Exclaim!. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  10. ^ Goldberg, Michelle (November 24, 1999). "Geek Grrl Anthems". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d Vowell, Sarah (March 2000). "Le Tigre: Le Tigre". Spin 16 (3): 147. 
  12. ^ a b c Flota, Brian. "Le Tigre - Le Tigre". AllMusic. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c Rockermann, Kristin Sage (October 26, 1999). "Le Tigre: Le Tigre". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Zahora, George. "Le Tigre: Le Tigre". PopMatters. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (November 16, 1999). "Pick Hit: Le Tigre". The Village Voice 44 (45). Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  16. ^ Hermes, Will (January 2011). "The Top 20 Albums of the Year". Spin 17 (1): 73. 
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert. "The 2000 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  18. ^ Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe. p. 851. ISBN 978-0-7893-1371-3. 
  19. ^ Jenkins, Mark (January 26, 2000). "Le Tigre: Where's the Bomp?". The Washington Post. p. C05. 
  20. ^ Kelly, Chris (February 20, 2012). "Gibberish in pop music: bomp ba bomp". CBC Music. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Nelson, Chris (October 21, 1999). "Best Of ’99: Ex-Bikini Kill Singer Bares Teeth With Le Tigre". MTV News. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  22. ^ Baron, Zach (February 1, 2010). "Perez Hilton Was Right: Le Tigre are Contributing to Christina Aguilera's Bionic". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  23. ^ Plitt, Amy (March 7, 2014). "10 awesome, fierce feminist anthems". Time Out New York. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  24. ^ Carlson, Dean. "Hot Topic - Le Tigre". AllMusic. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  25. ^ Tyler-Ameen, Daoud (November 27, 2012). "Old Music Tuesday: Le Tigre". NPR. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  26. ^ Bowman, Patrick (July 26, 2012). "13 Songs That Have a Filmmaker in the Title". MTV Hive. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 

External links[edit]