The Raincoats, “Odyshape”

 This quite long. I am very moved by Odyshape and everyone needs to know.

I just got Obyshape by The Raincoats. I had to pay $47 for it, but it entirely worth it! All of The Raincoat’s albums have been discontinued by the manufacturer. So I had to go to and still, to receive the CD “like brand new,” it was that price. I made a counter bid for the LP that the was being sold for $120. But I’m not willing to go much higher than half of that, considering I don’t have a record player! So, no LP for me. As I paid for the CD, I wondered if I was using an object to make me happy. I have my favorite songs on myspace and some other’s on Rhapsody (which does not offer all the Odyshape album). But it’s for my birthday and I said what the hell.

My husband took our children out so I could make some bread and have some alone time. I put in the CD and cranked it up because it has wonderful low bass tones that are essential to the experience. I got to baking.

I read a scholarly article once about The Raincoats called “Off Duty Trip” by Caroline O’meara. There was a quote of a discussion between members of Gang of Four:

Andy Gill: Imagine . . . if we were women. Is our music male music?

Hugo Burnham: You’re asking me, is our music male music?

Gill: Right.

Burnham: What do you mean by ‘male music’?

Gill: Would women play what we do? Could we be women? I doubt it.

Burnham: I don’t know. It’s a ridiculous question.

Jon King: It’s not ridiculous.

Burnham: I suppose we wouldn’t be playing the same music. I suppose. But is the Raincoats’ music ‘female music’?

Gill: Quite

Burnham: Why is it?

Gill: No –that’s the question. I’m not sure. Having said what I’ve said –it strikes me as dangerous to equate certain types of music with men or women, with sexuality.

When I was studying Woolf, we discussed how there are structural differences between male and female writing styles. The writing style was connected with sexuality not just gender. If you ever have the chance, listen to the album. Songs can easily be found at myspace look for “Shouting Out Loud” and “Only Loved at Night.” But to listen to the album entirely is the best experience. This is a psychedelic/experimental album. The lyrics speak of women’s issues/experiences. But it’s not Beyonce doing her chicken strut in her bathing suit and high heels singing to “all the single ladies.” Perhaps this could be expanded another time, but I really see her dance as a strut and a bet-you -want-some-of this-dance,-but-you-should-have-put-at-ring-on-it. It’s for men as well not just the script for women. It uses sex to get a guy agree to getting married. (Yes, must continue that discussion later.)

The Raincoats’ music-language is feminine in my mind, and I don’t see anything wrong with calling it feminine. The rhythm is dance-able in a way that, is individual: you dance with yourself when you listen to this album. It has the rolling in the music that reminds me of The Grateful Dead. The strange bends in the guitar lines, the waxing and waning violin, and the moments where every instrument and voice moves like it’s being shaken. It’s like the oddities in the lesser known Pink Floyd albums. Bikini Kill is the embracing of one’s inner slut. While, The Raincoats are like reading Mrs. Dalloway; they sing the story of Mrs. Ramsay in that they sing of women’s everyday lives.

Sometimes called punk or just alternative, I just want to roll my hips and body and jump up and down and shake my hair all over the place. But never in angry violence. The music turns round and round like the drawing of the feminine plot chart for literature. It makes its center, expands, comes back again. It is beyond rising climax, climax, resolution.


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