California Girls

Springtime makes me wanna only listen to that dog.

The progression of their records feels really important to me. For me, that dog. signifies a number of things about California, specifically Los Angeles. Granted, I haven't been back to LA since my family moved out of Eagle Rock in 1993, but it is always special to me. Thinking a lot about how they've always been in the back of my mind, but when it gets sunny out I am really consciously thinking about / obsessing over them. Their first record is so beautiful, aching, and smart. They wrote it as BFFs, it feels like.

So cute, right?

I mean. Couldn't you just? These outfits are really great. I wish I was wearing this today.

Ok. I mean this in an entirely non-sarcastic, fully body-positive way: I totally adore Anna Waronker's upper arms in this, their break-out video for "Old Timer".

Kinda feel like it's okay to say that since the video is a little catty anyway. The genius of that dog. is that it balances this kind of tough, in-the-know, hipster-mocking, cool girl cattiness with, like, naked vulnerability. I dunno. I feel super duper high school describing it. Not that that's a bad feeling.

GOODNESS GRACIOUS, THIS RECORD. I want to talk about this record, but I mainly want to talk about how this record was forbidden for me. Two of my Cool Older Female Friends (Whom I Had Crushes On) forbade me to listen to this record, at different times in my long-delayed adolescence. One friend was in high school and one friend was in college and I don't want to name them or get into it but SUFFICE IT TO SAY, two girls whom I very much admired would tell me that this record, Totally Crushed Out!, was simply TOO EMOTIONAL to listen to or EVEN TO DISCUSS OR MENTION. Because they had been listening to this record while going through painful emotional crushes of their own, and the mere memory of this record would send them reeling back into the emotional pain that this album seems to signify for them. These girls did not know each other, but their experience of the record was the same. So it always seemed to have this magickal power for me, it was, like, steeped Cool Girl Pain. It always seemed like a magic cure for romance blues.

It totally is. It totally is heavy and significant. However, I am always down to discuss this record with anyone. If we're ever at a party or something and you are looking for something to say to me (maybe our conversation has run dry or we're awkwardly standing around waiting to start making out), you can always talk to me about this album and I'll get really excited and then you'll know what I look like when I'm really excited about something.

Girls, it doesn't get a whole lot better than this:

Feel my pulse.

I will say, however, ultimately, that my favorite that dog. album (and the one I got first) has to be their swan-song, Retreat From The Sun.

It gives me mini-time bummers to learn that the record was supposed to be an Anna Waronker solo affair, that she wrote the whole thing and only included the band out of contractual obligations to DGC. But you know what? It doesn't always necessarily matter what the intention of the artist is. Like, it's a pretty interesting phenomenon that we expect artists to be the authority on the significance and meaning of their work.

Regardless of whatever interpersonal turmoil was going on between the Anna and the Hadens Rachel and Petra, I'm glad (in a way) that they went through it, because they made one of my favorite records in the whole world. The over-the-top vocal harmonies are gorgeous. Interesting that Anna wrote most of the songs on the piano, they have this really pretty embellished / crafted quality. You can tell that she's spent some time with these motifs. This record, also, I got during a particularly difficult (feelings-wise) summer. And it feels very sunshine-y to me. it's gotten me through some difficult times, and it has also been the soundtrack to a few love affairs of mine. I've put the opener, "I'm Gonna See You" on a few mix CDs for boys (creepy? overkill? or just emo?). SUCH a gorgeous song.

The album's single, "Never Say Never" is as good as anything else that came out in the late 1990s.

Hair, I mean, matters. So does the message of this song, which is complex! When was the last time that you heard a rock song (pop song?) that articulated the feeling of being conflicted? Lady Caca doesn't sing, darling, about conflict. Sometimes, on sunny days like today, I want to listen to the thoughts of a real girl. A real Californian girl.

After the band broke up Anna put out at least one solo album (it's super cute). Check her website here.

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