Geek The Girl by Lisa Germano

Lisa Germano's 1994 masterpiece Geek The Girl  is a concept album about a girl going through puberty.  Unlike the bookAre You There God? It's Me, Margaret, this is a work that can be enjoyed equally by both men and women.  There is such imagination and artistry here, it's amazing that an album about such a touchy subject is so listenable.   The lyrics are wonderful, but this is definitely an album which could survive on its sonics, which are varied yet accessible and mostly created by Germano herself, who plays the majority of the instruments and acts as a coproducer.  

The best example of the artist utilizing outside help is on Geek The Girl's centerpiece, the brilliant "...A Psychopath." Underneath Germano's captivating lyrics and quiet arrangement is an actual 911 call from a horrified woman who is being taunted by the presence of an intruder in her home.  You can make out some of the conversation between the woman and the dispacther—which is terrifying enough—but the most eerie element of the song is hearing her scream "why?" repeadetly, moments before the phone disconnects, leaving us with the telling, sustaining sound of a dial tone.  Absolutely chilling.  Don't be surprised if you play this song twice in a row.  

Though Germano was in her mid 30s when she recorded Geek The Girl, she is able to play the part of a preteen girl with the amazing confidence and accuracy of a trained actor.  None of the album's 12 songs mention puberty directly, but the emotions which are commonly associated with the human body's transition period are always present.  There is anger, confusion and self-hatred.  But, from time to time, there are moments of heartbreaking tenderness.  The result is a beautiful and consistent album and the universal critical acclaim it received immediately after its release is totally justified.  

I suggest you find a quiet moment to enjoy this one.




Ursula Rucker

Poet/singer Ursula Rucker creates the kind of spoken-word music you wouldn't be surprised to hear at the Whitney Museum in New York City.  It is beat poetry, but then it's not really beat poetry either.  Actually, it's better.  It's a provocative, matter-of-fact sort of thing.  Kind of like speeches over jazz-influenced, electronic music.  In Rucker's case, the music falls behind her words like a waterfall.  

There is no convoluted imagery in Rucker's work.  When she says something abstract like "I ain't no fish" as she does in "Uh-Uh," she begins another line with "the reason for the fish analogy..."  It makes for an artist whose transparency is both incredibly refreshing and totally unpretentious.  And when you can call a poet unpretentious, you just can't let that poet get away  You gotta reel them in to your music collection—like a fish.  

Rucker's poetry is controversial in a lot of ways.  On the one hand, it's controversial because of what it advocates— individuality and a rejection of the status quo.  But her use of language is just as controversial.  She uses words like "cunnilingus," "fuck," "dick" and "tits" and graphically describes how each thing or process is exploited.  Cunnilingus is  actually the subject of an entire song.  It's very sexual, but not remotely raunchy.  It's beautiful when you really get down to it.  One could make the argument that this is the kind of music you could play for a high school English class.  Then again, maybe not, knowing how perverted teenage boys can get.

But the fact that I am advocating the use of Rucker's art in a classroom suggests that her work is not only meant to be be studied and examined, but also enjoyed.  I have a feeling you will enjoy entering Ursula Rucker's little universe, too.  You can enter it right now at—but don't enter the url.  You're already there, stupid. 

Ma'at Mama by Ursula Rucker


In January 2013 I received an e-mail from a guy named Lee.  Here's his message:


Why did Joe walsh join the Eagles? From James Gang music to Peaceful Easy Feeling? Thanks, Lee.

I started writing him an e-mail back, but then I thought it might be more fun to answer his question by making a video.  

You can watch the video below:

Why Joe Walsh Joined The Eagles