Album Review: Sleater-Kinney | Start Together (Box Set)

by BUST Magazine


It was music for the kids in high school who wore worn-out Converse and an air of nonchalance. They didn’t smoke like the others, but drank coffee like water, and listened to Sleater-Kinney with the same kind of aggression. Most were unabashedly convinced they were the only ones the band were singing to.

Comprised of Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, Sleater-Kinney became enmeshed in the northwest punk scene of the early ’90s. To say that this Washington state rock band has had a dedicated following over the years is a bit of an understatement, making this box set of all seven of their albums a warmly welcomed release. Tracks like “I’m Not Waiting” on 1996’s Call The Doctor remind us why Sleater-Kinney stood out from other other punk acts with a less realized vision.

“One More Hour” off of 1997’s Dig Me Out leaves listeners aching with resounding lyrics like, “In one more hour/I’ll leave this room/The dress you wore/The pretty shoes/Are things I left.” Later, “Modern Girl” on their 2005 release The Woods reminds all women what the world expects of them: “My baby loves me, I’m so happy/Happy makes me a modern girl/Took my money and bought a TV/TV brings me closer to the world”- in other words, get a man to love you and watch as the world becomes your oyster.





With their feminist, left-leaning lyrics, Sleater-Kinney’s relevance today is obvious. While some singers back away from being labeled “feminist,” Sleater-Kinney exists partially to redirect society’s perception of the word. With 1995’s first release, the self-titled Sleater-Kinney, this three-piece band from Olympia, Washington contributed to the kaleidoscopic nature of popular music that year (which, in case you forgot, was a lot of TLC and Coolio). Over the next fifteen years, Sleater-Kinney optimized what it was to be a group born during the riot grrrl era, one that continues to inspire girls today. 




As fans listened to each of Sleater-Kinney’s albums upon their release, they felt like a personal jam session just for them, but in the kindest way, they weren’t. Every listener of the band is on a riff-filled ride together, an inclusion reaching farther than any bedroom or car. Sleater-Kinney gave many of their fans the first taste of what it was to be a feminist who could smile. They didn’t hide behind any sense of self-doubt, and their music didn’t ask for reassurance of who they were, or who society would allow them to be. -Claire Mckinzie


Start Together is out now on Sub Pop Records and is available to order here!

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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