Sleater-Kinney's new album arrives in January and today they shared the record's second single, "Say It Like You Mean It."
The reunion of Sleater-Kinney hasn't been exactly what many expected. After their excellent comeback album No Cities to Love, the band announced that this wasn't going to just be a single victory lap, but rather the second half of their story. Just before their next album, 2019's The Center Won't Hold, was about to drop, long-time drummer Janet Weiss announced that she was going to depart the band. It was heartbreaking for fans and for many, the music suffered. Their last album, Path of Wellness, was the band's first as a duo and it didn't do much to change the opinions of fans who felt let down by their new musical direction. Next year, Corin Tucket and Carrie Brownstein will release the group's eleventh album, Little Rope, and the latest single hints at more straightforward pop in place of their angst-driven past. "Say It Like You Mean It" is an entirely pleasant song with humble guitar, basic drum beats, with a pretty formulaic verse / chorus / verse structure. It's not a song that will likely grab attention or bring back fans who have turned on the band in a post-Janet world, but it's still a Sleater-Kinney track and it holds its power in a surprising way. After casually cruising along for a little over two-minutes, the band finds its urgency and surges forward for a triumphant finish. Corin's voice soars to the powerful heights where she's at her best and the drums find some life leaving it in a better place than it started. It's not the chaotic, punk rock call-to-arms that many would associate with the band and the call and response vocal dynamics of Carrie and Corin are still sorely missing from the band's latest output, but it is a track that shows the graceful aging of a band who were thrown wrenches at some many different parts of their lives. Halfway through recording this album, Brownstein learned of the unexpected death of her parents as a result of a car accident while on vacation in Italy. Even more tragically, Corin was the one who received the call and had to inform Carrie of the devastating news. The fact that this song and album exist at all is a bit of a miracle. We should all be happy that Sleater-Kinney are still giving us new sources of inspiration and subtle beauty.
Little Rope is out January 19.