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The Dollyrots – Because I’m Awesome

The Dollyrots are on Joan Jett’s record label, Blackheart, and it’s not hard to hear the connection—but while Joan Jett even in her Runaways days smoldered with the promise of sex, the Dollyrots at best offer to make out for a while on your mom’s couch. In other words, like the masters of pop-punk and many others who came after, they don’t wanna grow up.


It’s a style I’ve heard referred to as ‘nursery punk,’ bratty, rude, and in your face with childlike put-downs and playground lyrics. (Not to be confused with that other famous blonde Courtney Love’s ‘kinderwhore’ style.) The title “Because I’m Awesome” and the accompanying title track show it off best, chanting: “I don’t need you /Cause I’m neato/And I beat you/Cause I’m awesome” over churning guitar.

Riot grrrl bands used the juxtaposition of little-girl singing styles with political lyrics to great effect, but the Dollyrots don’t really have a message to get across other than being in a rock band is fun. The enhanced footage on the CD offers a video from South by Southwest that takes pleasure in showing the incompetence of the band and their crew at making a video. It’s supposed to be self-effacingly charming, I suppose, but it just grates.

It says something about a band when the best song on their album is a cover tune—the cutesy-sexy “Brand New Key,” which many of you may remember as Rollergirl’s theme song from Boogie Nights. Here it’s punked-up but still suits singer Kelly Ogden’s vocal style and the band has a good time with it. I keep returning to it over and over again.

On “Hysteria,” Ogden flirts with Joan Jett-style sexual lyrics, at one point referring to “the only thing that makes me come,” and “A Desperate SOS” takes a stab at politics. The album as a whole contains more sugar than spice, singing about crushes and friends who are hot to singsong cheerleader rhythms and the occasional echo of a fifties rock song. It’s not a bad time, but I always wonder why so many women in rock seem afraid to sound like women, not girls. I suppose, though, that many men in bands in this genre similarly sound like high schoolers struggling with puberty, so I shouldn’t blame the ladies.


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