April 26th, 2011


RIP Poly Styrene

Poly Styrene passed away last night at the age of 53 after a battle with cancer. Coincidentally, she had a new solo album being released today. As a mixed-race, curly-haired, chubby-faced, big-eyed young woman with braces on her teeth and a knock-kneed stage presence, she was the most unlikely person to ever front a band. She embodied the sexual energy of a front-man while simulataneously flaunting all its conventions. I first heard X-ray Spex when I was maybe 19 and her vocals just blew me away. She belted her songs like a champ but couldn't hide the occasional squeal which belied her youthful exuberance. While they arguably had better songs, "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!" became a staple of the punk rock canon. It was irreverent, loud, and just a bit naughty. Thankfully, the opening line of "Little girls should be seen and not heard" is ironic and defiant, and the world got the chance to hear her. You can go look her up on Wikipedia or the various obituaries that have been written online this morning at your own leisure, but for now, enjoy a bonafide punk rock classic. R.I.P. Poly.