The Kills-Keep On Your Mean Side.

7 09 2011

If I had to list my favourite albums of all time, I’d probably put all four of The Kills albums in there. However, there’s one album of theirs that owns my heart slightly more than the others. It’s not because of sentimental value, all four albums hold that. With the album I’ve chosen to focus on, it is the pure Punk feel to it- that menacing raw sound. I remember when I first heard it, I was just instantly drawn in to Alison’s delicate voice and Jamie’s aggressive guitar sounds. Keep On Your Mean Side will forever be one of my favourite debut albums I’ve ever heard.

As most are aware, The Kills are influenced by the Blues. You listen to how Jamie plays guitar, and the influence of the Blues is so obvious. Not in a rip-off sense, far from it. I firmly believe that Jamie Hince is severely underrated as a guitar player. You honestly do not have to have seen The Kills live to know this. Just listen to songs such as Wait, Pull A U, Fried My Little Brains, Baby Says, Last Day Of Magic- basically all their songs, you dig? Good.

They are also influenced by the likes of Captain Beefheart and The Velvet Underground. I’d also say hints of Townes Van Zandt are present too. Basically, as they influenced and admire such great musicians it is really no surprise that they make music which is on the same level as their influences.

When I first heard Keep On Your Mean Side, the immediate feeling I got from it was that I felt like I was taking a road-trip on some desolate and dusty road. Just getting away from everything and forgetting it all. The Kills are brilliant if you feel like a lost cause/soul. They help you find parts of you; they reach parts of you that not even someone so close to you could ever get to. Their lyrics are your life, the band are your lifeline.

There are a handful of albums and artists that make me feel this way, but with The Kills it is entirely different. Maybe it’s because of the bond Alison and Jamie have with each other, as there are only two of them making this heartfelt music- you feel it more because it’s much more personal.

I think my favourites off Keep On Your Mean Side have to be Wait and Gypsy Death And You. Both songs have this unexplainable emotion to them. The images you get from both songs are astounding.

When I listen to Gypsy Death And You, I picture a lonely person in a hotel room collapsing out of utter despair with regard to their life and the one they love. They can’t bear to look at them because it aches too much, “She covers one eye ‘cause she can see into your soul. And she no, longer wants to.” The song is full of understanding, that’s its okay to feel like that, “If that’s the way that you feel, then that’s the way that you feel.” It’s just such a comforting line. Besides, why should you have to justify how you feel? Feeling it is bad enough, you don’t have to explain.

Wait feels like a road-trip with someone you’re not really close to, but want to get close to. I think everyone has someone that they look at and wish they could figure out. I personally don’t, but that’s because I think not being able to understand someone makes life more interesting I guess. Some people are the way they are, just because I suppose. Not everything needs a reason. I love Wait because it is so simple.

“So tell me something bad you done. Tell me ‘bout your ghosts.” You just want to know the person, the good and the bad. It’s just a beautiful song; I can never get tired of playing it.

I can’t write about this album without mentioning two of the most ferocious songs by The Kills; Pull A U and Fried My Little Brains. Anyone who has seen these two songs performed live knows how mental it is. The chemistry on stage Alison and Jamie have just truly comes alive in these songs- I know it’s there with all songs, but.

The intro to Fried My Little Brains just makes this part of you lose your mind. You cannot help it, you just go crazy. You have to. That’s the beauty of The Kills, they make you feel free and give you the ability to lose your mind.

Pull A U feels like a punch in the face. The guitar in it is just mind-blowing; it just makes you feel like you’ve been smacked in the face. But you don’t care! You don’t care because it feels good.

The way their voices merge together on these songs is sexually charged, but at the same time- it isn’t. You know that Alison and Jamie are just the best of friends, and what makes them so gifted is that they can make you believe it’s something more/ they just have this insane chemistry that is really, do or die- life or death for them. This band is everything to them. This band is everything to me, and the connection they have just inspires you greatly.

The scream in Superstition is fucking incredible. The way that Alison can hold that note just leaves you in awe. It’s just beyond. Every song on Keep On Your Mean Side is so powerful and overwhelming. It makes you want to just start your own band, your own movement. They make you want to grab someone lovingly by the scruff of the neck and scream the words to Cat Claw at them.

I cannot say that this album is the most brutal sounding album by The Kills as each album has that sound. When this album came out, nothing else sounded like it, and four albums on- no one else sounds like The Kills. They’re just a perfect band. Everything about them just appeals to me. The lyrics, the aggression, the frustration, the importance, the sound- everything. You can sense in every single song just how important that song is to Alison and Jamie. You can feel just how important they band is to Alison and Jamie.

Some bands change for the worst, some change for the best. The Kills have stayed the same, but not in a way that causes them to make the same record four times over. What I mean is, they have stayed true to that Punk ethic, that harsh and raw sound that has not been done since the Velvet Underground.

Keep On Your Mean Side is a cruel and fragile album. Most people that act cruel are fragile. I’m not saying Alison and Jamie are cruel- but their lyrics can be. You love and care for someone so much to the point you cant stand them. But you need them around. That’s how you can tell that these two are the best of friends. Nothing and no one will ever come between them. They love each other with no complications, they just take each other for who they are and accept it. That’s how it should be.

If you ever wonder what the true meaning of love, friendship and loyalty is- just look at how Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince are with each other.


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