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Friday Body Positive Music: Kim Gordon

September 16, 2011


I know many people come to Sonic Youth for the guitars, but I can’t take my eyes off of Kim Gordon.* This song was their first major label single, written by Kim Gordon after an interview with LL Cool J for Spin Magazine. Apparently Kim was unimpressed, and the song mocks LL and his new album Walking With a Panther. In it she takes on misogyny in his lyrics/videos, and a broader issue of  the way women and women’s rights were marginalized in the Black Panther party. Or maybe she’s just goofing around.

Here’s my favorite bit of lyrics:

Hey Kool Thing
Come here
Sit down beside me
There’s something i gotta ask you
I just wanna know
What’re you gonna do for me
I mean
Are you gonna liberate us girls from male white corporate oppression?
Don’t be shy
Fear of a female planet
I just want you to know
That we can still be friends

While researching for this post, I found a master’s thesis entitled, GENDER TROUBLE GIRL: THE DISRUPTIVE WORK OF KIM GORDON. Here is an excerpt:

Walser’s discussion of masculinity in his chapter on the heavy metal sounds and images of gender corresponds to Judith Butler’s notions of gender identity, making his musicology compatible with her theorizing.  Walser sees “sex roles as contradictory, mutable social constructions rather than as normative formations somehow grounded in biology or an ahistorical psychology,” and believes no element of identity can be called stable or natural. He identifies gender constructions in visual and musical tropes in heavy metal music and videos to reveal how gender and power are interrelated, which provides a useful model for my analysis of Gordon’s work. An analysis of the song “Kool Thing” and its music video will delineate the meanings generated by Gordon’s negotiation of the gender, class, and race issues factoring into her female protagonist’s disillusionment with a male pop star, with close attention paid to the musical, lyrical, and visual tropes employed.

… so I’m going to go geek out and read it. But in the meantime, here are a couple other great Sonic Youth songs featuring Kim’s singing:




*Big ups to Zac for playing these songs for me!

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