Irony is Hell

There is a title track, "Knock on the Sky," but look at the track listing and you won't see it. The lyrics aren't on the lyric sheet, just the cryptic comment "In case you can find it . . . KNOCK ON THE SKY." And if you think the LP is over and you don't bother to look or fast-forward but just go about your day, it'll wait 14 minutes to suddenly jump you as a hidden track, and jump you it will. It's not "Kick Out the Jams" or "Paranoid," but it's very much and very loudly NOT COUNTRY, either. It sounds like beatnik girl rappers accompanied by the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Soundgarden doing a distorted-guitar-and-harmonica version of "I Am the Walrus." Guitar scuzz and alt attitude, but with a psychedelic sweetness to it. The SHeDAISies lilt their way into Polonius platitudes ("To thine own self be true") but also sample, right in the midst of the song, the very same trash-movie line that girl punkers Fabulous Disaster had sampled last year: "Don't you know that bad girls go to Hell!" Of course, SHeDAISY cut off the word "Hell," and, unlike the guitarist in Fabulous Disaster, no one in SHeDAISY wears an "Enjoy Cock" T-shirt in publicity photos. SHeDAISY do, however, have a song that goes, "It was easy falling in love/It was beautiful on the way up/But I need a man goin' down." Just a metaphor, love's easy on the way up but can you be a man for her when things go down? Kristyn's too corn-bred Utah innocent to mean anything sexual by "goin' down"—that's what I thought at first, before hearing the "Knock on the sky/Bad girls go to Hell" thing. Now I don't know. The hidden track has flipped my view of the whole record. The track sounds good, too, not merely daring. And of course in any other American pop genre it wouldn't have been the least bit daring, but in country . . .

Goo goo ga joob
photo: Marina Chavez
Goo goo ga joob


Knock on the Sky
Lyric Street

Though there's nothing novel about a good-girl/bad-girl sexual dichotomy in country, on this track it's the music that seems to be declaring itself the bad girl. And this does not come from c&w's old-timey sin-and-redemption drink-and-repent dynamic—this song is just not on that map. What's odd and interesting is that, at the last moment, Kristyn puts her whole stake on the "bad girl," so there suddenly seems to be something at stake—for herself and her music—in getting that music and that self under the aegis of the Greater Creative Force, when in her heart she might fear that the music, and therefore she herself, really belong over in God's Great Shouldn't. That "Repent" song back on track six is full of conviction; yet with the context flipped, the standard girl-poetry stuff seems suddenly out in left field, like the psychedelic harmonies. On a rock album you wouldn't get this tension from these old rock tropes. But on a commercial country album you sure can. To thine own self be true. And what? Go to hell for it?

« Previous Page
New York Concert Tickets

Concert Calendar

  • May
  • Fri
  • Sat
  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu