Call the Doctor

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Call the Doctor
Studio album by Sleater-Kinney
Released March 25, 1996
Recorded September 1995
Genre Punk rock
Length 30:04
Label Chainsaw
Producer John Goodmanson
Sleater-Kinney chronology
Call the Doctor
Dig Me Out
(1997)Dig Me Out1997

Call the Doctor is the second studio album by the American rock band Sleater-Kinney. It was released on March 25, 1996, by Chainsaw Records to critical acclaim.

Recording and release[edit]

Call the Doctor was written in three weeks and recorded in four days.[1] According to singer and guitarist Corin Tucker, the writing was inspired by a "crap" job she had and how people are "consumerized and commodified" by society.[1] The album contains no bass player. As Tucker explained, "We started writing songs with two guitars, and we liked the way it sounded. It gives us a lot of freedom to write these lines that go back and forth."[2] The album is occasionally considered to be Sleater-Kinney's first proper album because Tucker and co-vocalist and guitarist Carrie Brownstein had left their previous bands, Heavens to Betsy and Excuse 17, at the time of its recording.[3]

Call the Doctor was produced by John Goodmanson and released on March 25, 1996, by the queercore independent record label Chainsaw Records, which also released the band's previous album, Sleater-Kinney.[4] Drummer Laura Macfarlane, who was based in Australia, had to leave the band shortly after the album's release when her visa ran out. As a result, the band asked Toni Gogin of CeBe Barnes to fill in on the drums while touring the album.[5] As of March 1997, the album has sold 6,000 copies.[6] As of February 2015, Call the Doctor has sold 60,000 copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Christgau's Consumer Guide A[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[9]
Music Story 3.5/5 stars[10]
MusicHound Rock 4.5/5[11]
Pitchfork 8.6/10[12]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[14]
Spin 8/10[15]

Call the Doctor received acclaim from music journalists. Charles Taylor of The Boston Phoenix compared the album favorably to Heavens to Betsy's Calculated, stating that Call the Doctor "is in no way a mellowed piece of work. What makes it the fullest, most mature album any riot grrrl performer has produced isn't Tucker abandoning her anger (the idea that anger is incompatible with maturity is a facile one), but rather Tucker starting (reluctantly) to register the contingencies and compromises that her ideologically based rage is inadequate to confront".[16] Similarly, prominent music critic Robert Christgau praised the album's raucous energy, commenting: "Powered by riffs that seem unstoppable even though they're not very fast, riding melodies whose irresistibility renders them barely less harsh, Corin Tucker's enormous voice never struggles more inspirationally against the world outside than when it's facing down the dilemmas of the interpersonal—dilemmas neither eased nor defined by her gender preferences, dilemmas as bound up with family as they are with sex."[8]

AllMusic reviewer Jason Ankeny commented: "Forget the riot grrrl implications inherent in the trio's music — Call the Doctor is pure, undiluted punk, and it's brilliant".[4] Johnny Huston, writing for Spin, remarked that Call the Doctor "trades sex-worker role-playing, doll parts, gender-bending, and other common female-rock tropes for stories of everyday struggle [...] Sleater-Kinney proves that punk still offers new ways to say no".[15] The album appeared at number three in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll for 1996.[17] In 2010, Call the Doctor was ranked number 49 in the list of the 100 greatest albums of the nineties by the editors of Rolling Stone.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker.

No. Title Length
1. "Call the Doctor" 2:30
2. "Hubcap" 2:25
3. "Little Mouth" 1:44
4. "Anonymous" 2:29
5. "Stay Where You Are" 2:24
6. "Good Things" 3:10
7. "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" 2:37
8. "Taking Me Home" 2:35
9. "Taste Test" 3:00
10. "My Stuff" 2:33
11. "I'm Not Waiting" 2:21
12. "Heart Attack" 2:12
Total length: 30:04


Credits are adapted from Call the Doctor's album notes.[19]

Macfarlane was incorrectly credited with vocals on "Taking Me Home" (she actually sang on "Taste Test")


  1. ^ a b Inoue, Todd S. (March 1996). "Portland's Sleater-Kinney is maniacally vulnerable". Metro (March 21–27, 1996). Archived from the original on 1997-01-13. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  2. ^ Morris, Chris (1996-03-30). "Declarations of Independents". Billboard. 108 (13): 112. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  3. ^ Corcoran, Clifford J. "Sleater-Kinney". Trouser Press. Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  4. ^ a b c Ankeny, Jason. "Call the Doctor – Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  5. ^ Lindsay, Cam (2015-01-22). "The Drama You've Been Craving". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on 2015-01-24. Retrieved 2015-08-28. 
  6. ^ Cromelin, Richard (1997-03-16). "An All-Grrrl Band at Heart". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  7. ^ "Unfinished Business". NPR. 2015-02-03. Archived from the original on 2015-07-27. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (2000). "Sleater-Kinney: Call the Doctor". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  10. ^ Anon. (n.d.). "Review: Call the Doctor". Music Story. 
  11. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds.) (1999). "Sleater-Kinney". MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 1031. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  12. ^ Pelly, Jenn (2014-10-24). "Sleater-Kinney: Start Together". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2014-10-24. 
  13. ^ Ali, Lorraine (1996-06-13). "Call the Doctor". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-10-02. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  14. ^ Chonin, Neva (2004). "Sleater-Kinney". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 742–743. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved 2011-12-08. 
  15. ^ a b Huston, Johnny (March 1996). "Sleater-Kinney: Call the Doctor". Spin. 11 (12): 110–111. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  16. ^ Taylor, Charles (1996-04-11). "Sleater-Kinney rise from Heaven to Betsy's ashes". The Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  17. ^ "The 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. 1997-02-25. Archived from the original on 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  18. ^ "The 100 Greatest Albums of the '90s". The '90s: The Inside Stories from the Decade That Rocked. Harper Design. 2010-10-26. pp. 282–297. ISBN 978-0-06-177920-6.  Citation posted at "100 Best Albums of the Nineties (Page 49)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2013-11-09. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  19. ^ Call the Doctor (CD booklet). Sleater-Kinney. Portland, Oregon: Chainsaw Records. 1996. CHSW #13.