Earlier this year, in a desperate search for new music, I came across an album entitled ’Run Fast’ by a band called The Julie Ruin. They’re a band who I’ve known for a while but never really liked that much. But as soon as I heard the first few tracks of this album I fell in love with it! The founding member of the band and lead vocalist Kathleen Hanna -a leading figure in the feminist punk movement ‘riot grrrl’ in the early 90s- had started the band back in 1997 but hadn’t released any new music for years due to her battle with long-progressive lymes disease.
When this album was released in 2013, it was met with a storm of enthusiasm by fans of Kathleen’s earlier music. But in my opinion, this album is something completely different from anything she’s written before. Though still filled with girly punk spirit, the album is far more mellow and nostalgic compared to her earlier music.
The first few tracks of the album are all catchy, funny and imposable not to dance to. But the lyrics are deep and filled with meaning. Kathleen sticks to her roots, writing about feminism and revolution as well as writing quirky, funny love songs, such as the song, ‘Just My Kind.’
Then on track nine, ‘Good Night, Good Bye’ the music becomes sadder. Still singing in a sweet childlike voice, Kathleen sings about growing older and looking back on her life and her time in the band Bikini Kill. ‘Drove all night through the dirty melted snow, didn’t care if we ever got played on the radio’ she sings, missing and longing for the old days before she got famous. This, I think, is one of the best tracks on the album.
The album ends with the song ‘Run fast’. Starting with the line, ’we were called ’Sl*ts’ since the time we were five and teased so f*cking bad that we thought we would die.’ Kathleen sings about coping with the difficulties of growing up surrounded by sexism, about how she coped with that. She sings about starting a punk band and how no one thought they could do it because they were all just ‘girls’. It’s a beautiful and inspiring song, filled with a sense of victory.
The album in all, is very unusual and inspiring and I highly recommend it!