Spit (album)

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Spit
Spitalbumcover.jpg
Studio album by Kittie
Released January 11, 2000
Recorded Summer of 1999
Studio EMAC Studios, London, Ontario, Canada
Genre Nu metal
Length 37:23
Label Artemis
Producer Garth Richardson
Kittie chronology
Spit
(2000)
Oracle
(2001)
Singles from Spit
  1. "Brackish"
  2. "Charlotte"
Alternate cover

Spit is the debut studio album by the Canadian heavy metal band Kittie. Produced by Garth Richardson, the album was released on January 11, 2000 by Artemis Records. Kittie was formed in 1996 and got signed by NG Records after the band approached the record label's second-in-command, Jake Weiner. After seeing Kittie play live, Weiner signed the band to NG during the summer of 1999. NG was acquired by Artemis Records and Kittie recorded Spit at EMAC Studios in London, Ontario during the summer of 1999.

Spit was moderately successful, selling over 600,000 copies in the United States, selling over 40,000 copies in Canada, and being certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in October 2000. Music videos were filmed for "Brackish" and "Charlotte". Spit was finished in August 1999, and radio specialty shows and the music press supported the album. Before its release, Kittie was featured in an MTV News 1515 report. Although Spit was going to be released in October 1999, the departure of bassist Tanya Candler made the album get released in January 2000. NG Records pressed 8,000 copies of Spit and, according to Morgan Lander, "those 8,000 copies were gone in like the first fucking week".

The nu metal album has elements of heavy metal, speed metal, techno, alternative rock, hip hop, groove metal, alternative metal and death metal. Spit, whose lyrical themes include sexism, hatred, ignorance, betrayal, bullying and life experiences, received mixed-to-positive reviews. Some critics praised the album's aggression but some critics criticized the album's song titles, lyrics and attitude. After releasing Spit, Kittie went on tours with bands such as Chevelle, Shuvel, Slipknot, Suicidal Tendencies, and the Step Kings. Kittie also performed at Ozzfest and the 2001 SnoCore festival. Kittie planned to tour with Pantera, but the tour fell through when Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo fell and broke two ribs.

Background and recording[edit]

Kittie was formed in 1996,[1] when drummer Mercedes Lander and guitarist Fallon Bowman met in gym class.[2] Mercedes' sister, Morgan, became Kittie's lead vocalist and guitarist after Fallon and Mercedes jammed for several weeks; Tanya Candler completed the lineup as bassist. Kittie recorded demos and began playing dates in 1998. They played Call the Office and the Embassy, and signed up for Canadian Music Week in 1999. Kittie approached Jake Weiner, second-in-command at NG Records; when he saw them play live, Weiner signed them to NG during the summer of 1999.[1] NG was acquired by Artemis Records, and producer Garth Richardson obtained the band's demo.[2] Kittie recorded Spit, produced by Richardson,[3] at EMAC Studios in London, Ontario.[4] Mercedes Lander said that Spit was recorded in nine days.[5]

According to Morgan Lander, the songs were "all written when" the members of the band "were 14 years old".[6] She said that Kittie was largely influenced by alternative music: "bands like Nirvana, Silverchair and Alice in Chains".[6] The band wrote the music first, as a "backdrop" to Morgan's vocals.[6] During the Spit days, Kittie was known as the "anti-Britney".[7] "I'm not up there singing, 'Hit me baby, one more time!' We're a lot more mature than that," stated Morgan Lander.[8]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Talena Atfield, sticking out her tongue
Although bassist Talena Atfield (pictured) is on Spit's album cover, Tanya Candler played bass on the album.[9] In the winter of 1999, Candler left Kittie to finish high school.[5]

Spit is a nu metal album[10][11][12] with elements of heavy metal,[13] speed metal,[14] groove metal,[15] alternative metal,[15] alternative rock,[16] death metal,[8][17] techno[3][8][18] and hip-hop.[12] According to Exclaim!, Spit "plays like an inconsistent collection of stale 1991-era Pantera and Sepultura B-sides, overdubbed with the occasional 1995 techno sprinkle for a somewhat modern measure".[3] The album contains heavy riffs,[15] rapping,[12] screaming and clean singing.[19] An AllMusic review said that the album has a "meatier, heavier sound than contemporaries Limp Bizkit and Korn".[18] According to Michael Tedder of The Pitch, "Spit echoes Helmet's precision, Slayer's power and (with some songs dealing with body image and self-esteem issues) even Nirvana's confessional songwriting".[20]

In spite of the band's lyrics, Kittie member Morgan Lander (pictured) said that the members of Kittie led "fairly normal lives".[7]

The album's lyrical themes explore hatred, ignorance and sexism,[21] and AllMusic noted its feminist lyrics.[18] According to George Lang of The Oklahoman, "Kittie's lyrics are full of spit and venom, directed at preppy cheerleaders, rich kids, rude boys and women who trade on their sexuality".[22] According to the Sun-Sentinel, "Raven" "was inspired by a death threat received from a male band against whom" Kittie "competed in an Ontario talent contest".[7] "Jonny" is reportedly a reaction to male domination of women,[23] and "Paperdoll" is about the degradation of women as objects.[23] "We want to destroy the idea that a lot of men see women as blowup dolls. We want to break that, because we're better than that", said Morgan Lander.[8] "Choke" is an emotional response to betrayal. "That song's about someone telling you that they love you so much, and they put you up on a pedestal and make you feel great, then they turn around and say 'screw you'", said Fallon Bowman.[8] Mercedes Lander explained the meaning of "Do You Think I'm a Whore": "That's about the way that I perceive myself and the way other people tend to perceive me. There are times that I really don't think that people get what we're doing and understand where we're coming from. We're girls, playing in a guys' business ... "[8] According to Morgan Lander, "Do You Think I'm a Whore" "is about not judging a book by its cover and digging deeper into the substance to reveal that ... things aren’t what they seem. The title is like that basically to prove people wrong".[21] She continued that the song "is about how people automatically think you're a slut because you wear a short skirt".[10] The singer said, "'Charlotte' was inspired by a book that I had read many, many years ago, about a serial killer [Rites of Burial, by Tom Jackman and Troy Cole]. He did a lot of really, really messed-up things, and the story really stuck with me. I thought it was really quite sad and disturbing. So it draws lyrical inspiration from that".[24] She said that "Brackish" "actually is a commentary on a friend of the band's and the relationship that she was in at the time ... We didn't necessarily think it was a good one, and a lot of those lyrics were representative of our feelings towards that situation".[24]

Mercedes Lander explained the meaning of Spit's title track, her favorite song on the album: "People expect us to suck, then we get on stage and blow them away. One minute they're just standing there, then their mouths drop open and their dicks feel small."[8][25] The song "Spit" was inspired by the attitude of local bands towards Kittie.[21] According to Morgan Lander, Spit is "a dark album, but it's about every day life which isn't always peachy ... Life doesn't always treat you as nice as you'd like, but you shouldn't blow your head off because something goes wrong".[10] According to Talena Atfield, the album's songs are about "life experiences, basically. Oppression, people mistreating us, people putting you down because you're different, giving you a hard time because of who you are".[26] Asked if she experienced or saw many of these things in school, Atfield said: "Yeah, in life in general. Everyone goes through discrimination and oppression".[26] Spit was controversial because of its song titles, which made many people think that the album's songs are about sex.[27] Atfield said "People look at our songs and try to pick them apart and say that they're about sex, but none of them are. They were written at a pretty young age, so they're not about sex at all".[26]

Promotion, release, commercial performance and touring[edit]

Young women holding a bass guitar
Atfield in the music video for "Charlotte".

Spit was released on January 11, 2000[13][18] by Artemis Records.[28] NG Records pressed 8,000 copies of the album. According to Morgan Lander, "Those 8,000 copies were gone in like the first fucking week".[1] Spit sold over 100,000 copies in under three months.[29] Although the album was not Kittie's biggest chart success, Spit is their most successful album and was certified gold by the RIAA[2] on October 17, 2000.[28] The album sold more than 600,000 copies in the United States and 40,000 copies in Canada.[30] Although Spit was finished in August 1999, it was not released until January 2000. Before the release of the album, radio specialty shows and early press supported Spit.[31] Although the album was going to be released in October 1999, the departure of Candler made Spit get held back until January 2000.[32] The band's debut album and supporting tour earned Kittie coverage in Metal Edge, whose readers voted Morgan Lander Female Performer of the Year and Spit Home Video of the Year in the magazine's 2000 Readers' Choice Awards. The band was voted New Band of the Year, Who's Going to be the Next Big Thing and Most Underrated Band, (earning Kittie five Metal Edge Readers' Choice Awards that year).[33] Before Spit was released, Kittie was featured in an MTV News 1515 report.[31] The music video for "Brackish" was played on MTV and was rotated on WAAF.[31] On May 31, 2000, Kittie was interviewed and performed on the talk show Later.[34] Spit peaked at number 79 on the Billboard 200, and was on the chart for 37 weeks.[35] It peaked atop the Top Heatseekers chart.[36]

After Spit's release, Kittie toured with Slipknot and released a home video, Spit in Your Eye. They began an American tour on April 27, 2000, with Chevelle, Shuvel and the Step Kings. Kittie then toured Europe with Suicidal Tendencies and performed at Ozzfest.[37] They planned to tour with Pantera, but the tour fell through when Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo fell and broke two ribs. After the Pantera tour fell through, Kittie created a headlining tour[38] and performed at the 2001 SnoCore festival.[39]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[18]
Robert Christgau C+[40]
The Daily News 4/5[43]
NME 4/10[42]
Select 3/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[41]

Spit received mixed-to-positive reviews. Rolling Stone gave Spit a three out of five, called the album "fairly good-natured for an exercise in repetitive maximum aggro".[41] Robert Christgau gave the album a C+, calling it "proof that Korn fans aren't sexist".[40] Roxanne Blanford of AllMusic rated the album 3.5 out of five and wrote, "these young women learned well the lessons of predecessors Joan Jett, Lita Ford, and the current reigning queen of angst-rock, Courtney Love".[18] Teen Ink gave Spit a positive review: "Kittie is a Canadian band made up of four girls who can rock, yell and keep up with any hardcore band out there".[19] Phil McNamara of The Worcester Phoenix wrote that Kittie "can throw down heavy head-banging riffs with the best of them, and oh yeah -- they're girls".[27]

The Oklahoman gave Spit a positive review: "Throw in the fact that they range in age from 15 to 18, and Kittie seems like the perfect weapon to smite Mandy Moore, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and Christina Aguilera, forever ridding the music industry of teen-pop".[22] The CMJ New Music Report gave Spit a positive review: "the teenage babes in Ontario, Canada's Kittie will scratch and claw their way into the dark recesses of your hearts thanks to their debut, the smashing 'n' stomping Spit".[13] The Washington Post criticized the album: "All four members of this Canadian metal-punk band are women, which is still a novel (though certainly not unique) lineup for a headbanging ensemble. Too bad that's virtually the quartet's only distinguishing feature".[44] The review concluded, "After four or five of these pounding rockers, Kittie becomes a bore."[44] Exclaim! also criticized the album: "Guidance Counsellor's advice: pull the plug and stay in school".[3] NME gave the album a four-out-of-ten rating: "Like kindred spirits System Of A Down, Kittie want to give you the impression that they're just too tasty to fuk wit, too unhinged to view as normal folk, too pierced for the mainstream."[42] Spit was number 24 on Metal Descent's "25 Best Alternative Metal Albums" list,[15] and "Brackish" was on Fuse's "19 Best Nu-Metal Hits of All Time" list.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Morgan Lander, Mercedes Lander and Fallon Bowman.

No. Title Length
1. "Spit" 2:20
2. "Charlotte" 3:56
3. "Suck" 3:31
4. "Do You Think I'm a Whore" 3:00
5. "Brackish" 3:06
6. "Jonny" 2:24
7. "Trippin'" 2:21
8. "Raven" 3:25
9. "Get Off (You Can Eat a Dick)" 2:52
10. "Choke" 4:05
11. "Paperdoll" 3:22
12. "Immortal" 2:49
Total length: 37:23

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from the album liner notes.[4]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[28] Gold 600,000[30]^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "An interview with Morgan Lander of Kittie". London Groove Machine. July 3, 2014. Archived from the original on July 7, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Blanford, Roxanne. "Kittie | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d Sokal, Roman (November 30, 1999). "Kittie Spit". Exclaim!. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Spit (CD liner notes). Kittie. Artemis Records. 2000. 
  5. ^ a b "Original Kittie Lineup To Reunite?". Blabbermouth.net. March 17, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Joseph, Peter (February 8, 2001). "Sno-core Ball hits with metal edge". The GW Hatchet. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c Morse, Steve (July 27, 2000). "Retail Rage". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved February 22, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Kittie Bio". Washington Post. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  9. ^ Garry Sharpe-Young (2005). New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Zonda Books Limited. p. 187. ISBN 0-9582684-0-1. 
  10. ^ a b c Brannigan, Paul (March 4, 2000). "Teen Spirit". Kerrang!. No. 791. 
  11. ^ a b Muirhead, Stuart (April 2000). "Albums". Select. p. 93. 
  12. ^ a b c d "The 19 Best Nu-Metal Hits of All Time". Fuse. 11 February 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c "MUST HEAR". CMJ New Music Report. 61 (652). February 7, 2000. ISSN 0890-0795. 
  14. ^ Bercovici, Jeff (October 1999). "Reviews of Unsigned, Newly Signed or Independent Label Bands". NY Rock. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  15. ^ a b c d "The 25 Best Alternative Metal Albums". Metal Descent. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  16. ^ Hannaham, James (2002). "Underage Against the Machine". Spin. Vol. 18 no. 1. p. 25. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved September 1, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Kittie – Spit (1999 Ng Records)". FEMMUSIC. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f Blanford, Roxanne. "Spit – Kittie". AllMusic. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  19. ^ a b "Kittie – Spit". Teen Ink. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b Tedder, Michael (January 25, 2001). "Cat Powers". The Pitch. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b c vanHorn, Teri (January 25, 2000). "Kittie Drummer: We're Not A 'Girl Metal Band'". MTV. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  22. ^ a b Lang, George (August 18, 2000). "Kittie makes the fur fly". The Oklahoman. Retrieved February 22, 2017. 
  23. ^ a b Teitz, Alex (February 11, 1999). "Kittie Plays the Fillmore". FEMMUSIC. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  24. ^ a b Prato, Greg (October 14, 2015). "Morgan Lander of Kittie". Songfacts. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  25. ^ Richardson, Tanya (February 3, 2000). "cd reviews". The Stranger. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  26. ^ a b c Hammond, Alice (April 2000). "Interview with Talena of Kittie". NY Rock. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  27. ^ a b McNamara, Phil (February 8, 2001). "Hello Kittie". The Worcester Phoenix. 
  28. ^ a b c "American album certifications – Kittie – Spit". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  29. ^ "News". CMJ New Music Report. Vol. 62 no. 660. April 3, 2000. p. 32. ISSN 0890-0795. 
  30. ^ a b "Kittie File Lawsuit Against Their Record Label". Blabbermouth.net. April 1, 2003. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  31. ^ a b c Hay, Carla (March 25, 2000). "ARTEMIS' TEEN ROCKERS KITTIE CLAW UP THE BILLBOARD 200". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 112 (13): 13, 16. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  32. ^ "Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey · Page 116". Newspapers.com. Retrieved February 24, 2017. 
  33. ^ Metal Edge, June 2001
  34. ^ "Later Episodes". TV Guide. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Kittie – Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  36. ^ a b c d "Kittie | Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2017. 
  37. ^ Mancini, Rob (April 18, 2000). "Kittie Preps Home Video, Music Video". MTV. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  38. ^ vanHorn, Teri (November 10, 2000). "Kittie Plan Own Tour Due to Sidelined Pantera Trek". MTV. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  39. ^ Simon, Richard B. (January 23, 2001). "Dual SnoCore Tours Raging, Jamming Across North America". MTV. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  40. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: kittie". Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  41. ^ a b Berger, Arion (March 30, 2000). "Kittie: Spit". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  42. ^ a b "Spit". NME. September 12, 2005. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  43. ^ "New all-girl group gets a thumbs up". The Daily News. February 2, 2000. p. 13-A. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  44. ^ a b Jenkins, Mark (January 21, 2000). "Slipknot "Slipknot" Roadrunner; Kittie "Spit" Artemis". The Washington Post. p. N07. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  45. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2000". Billboard. 

External links[edit]