The Muffs

The Muffs

Led by Kim Shattuck, The Muffs should’ve scaled commercial heights in the same way that Green Day did—but everyone knows that the rock ’n’ roll heap is piled high with coulda-shoulda-wouldas. Still, over time, this 1993 major-label debut album has earned a sizable fanbase. That makes sense: for starters, the songs happily hang on the kind of major-minor arpeggios, descending riffs, and hard-panned harmonies that helped make mid-period Kinks so damn wonderful; only here it’s turned up a Ramones notch. And Shattuck (who, along with guitarist and fellow Muff Melanie Vammen, came out of the mighty Pandoras) is a deceptively smart lyricist who could make bigger personal themes palpably sing-song. There’s betrayal (“Big Mouth”), codependence (“Baby Go Round”), deadbeat lovers (“Lucky Guy”), downer boyfriends (“Not Like Me”), and good old existential angst (“Every Single Thing”). Her Southern California perspective gloriously spins out at times like some Hollywood Freeway pileup, and when she sounds angry (her screams resemble tree-shredders), she’s really just detailing good or bad personal experiences with lots of punk rock moxie.

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