Jemina Pearl: Break It Up

It’s not all the cocaine/not a chemical reaction in my brain/that’s making me go insane.” That’s the first line to “Heartbeats,” the opening track of Jemina Pearl’s solo debut Break It Up. It’s nice to see that the lead singer of the recently departed Be Your Own Pet hasn’t lost her edge. Sure, the music behind her vicious and vindictive lyrics may be better tailored for the dance floor than the mosh pit this time around, but this is dance music in the vein of Blondie, using disco beats to accompany dark lyrics and an overall menacing feel. While the Yeah Yeah Yeahs took the same approach this year with their excellent disco revival record It’s Blitz!, Pearl instead goes even further back in time with her dance-pop, instead drawing from ’60s pop music. Songs like “Selfish Heart” and “Ecstatic Appeal” sound like punk rock covers of unreleased Ronnettes songs. And others, like the brilliant “I Hate People,” an ode to misanthropy and true love (featuring Iggy Pop!), are freakish bubblegum pop songs from hell combining easy listening sounds with twisted lyrics and themes. “I Hate People” might just become an anti-love song classic; its chorus of “I hate people but I love you” should be anthem of every punk rocker in love, maybe even becoming a new wedding song. One thing’s for sure – Jemina’s back, she’s still pissed and kicks more ass than ever. (Ecstatic Peace! 2009)

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