Colleen Green // Sock It To Me
Recommended Track: Close To You
Here are the elements of your basic Colleen Green track, as we have known her: the jankiest drum machine in the known universe, 3-chord tsunami guitars, and the surprisingly light, singsong delivery that’s been drawing comparisons to the Ronettes as long as she’s been releasing music. It’s a pretty basic combination, but the space between her raw guitars and sweet vox lets her get a lot of mileage out of it. The simplistic, rock-candy vocals, you come to understand, are her poker face: if you weren’t paying attention, you could easily mistake an acid verse like “I Wanna Be Degraded” (off last year’s Milo Goes to Compton) for a really basic love song, which is the point, obviously. You can come for the sugar rush and stay for the S&M. (Kim Deal is probably a better comparison than Ronnie Spector.)
The new LP, Sock It To Me, is an album’s worth of real talk about how weird/rad love can be. All her trademarks are still here, but she’s expanded way beyond the Ramones riffs now; track 2, “Time In The World,” is an honest-to-god synth-pop song, complete with vocals which sometimes come dangerously close to expressing an emotion. The synths, naturally, are every bit as goofy as that drum machine, but this is definitely a less innocent record than we’re used to from Green. Dig “Close To You,” a five-minute (!) minor-key jam built around a spare, dark bass loop. That one dissolves into the title track, which is the one that’s going to decide whether you’re into the record or not. It’s mostly just a bass loop over eighth-note bass drum and what sounds like rain; Green whispers, “When you say you love me/You know it’s music to me/Then you sock it to me” and makes it sound sexy and menacing at the same time. No groove to be found here, at least not until the very end. From a singer who, in the past, tended to bury the sensitive shit in rock tropes and sarcasm, this raw kind of come-on is a real surprise. Good thing it works.
The track that’s been getting the most press so far is “Heavy Shit,” and no surprise, because it’s clearly got The Hook. It’s not that the other cuts here don’t have tight hooks – it’s that “Heavy Shit” is the one you’ll catch yourself singing at all sorts of inappropriate times. But it’s also the one that sticks most closely to her old formula. Me, I like the new Colleen even better. I like her loosening up and putting the heavy shit way forward; I even like her getting a little scary. Given that title track, I’m thinking she does, too.