Monday, March 11th, 2019

L7 – Burn Baby

Pretend we’re undead…


Juana Giaimo: For a song called “Burn Baby”, this leaves me rather cold.

Thomas Inskeep: I mean, this really does sound like Bricks Are Heavy with 25 years behind it: fine, but I wish it rocked harder. But I don’t rock as hard as I did 25 years ago, either, so there you go.

Katherine St Asaph: As much as Transmiticate remains a terminally underrated 2008 album, and as much as I wish the hype cycle didn’t abandon bands like L7 besides one token comeback album, this has basically no energy.

Will Adams: Donita Sparks’s delivery of “burn at the stake” is wonderfully snotty, which makes it all the more frustrating that it’s hitched to a song with such flat mixing.

Iris Xie: This song is mellowed the fuck out. How on earth did they make the line “burn at the stake” sound so friendly? Everything about this is so pleasant, from the stable riffs to the easy hooks and the unchanging peacefulness, to the point of me wondering where the hard edges and personality of L7’s older songs went. Did they just want a more lighthearted comeback?  But even with giving them the benefit of the doubt, “Burn Baby” is the equivalent of elders who have retired from the movement, and basically going, “Hey kids, it’s your turn now, but remember us?” and not admitting that they have lost their fire. The political situation has only gotten worse and more vile, and this soothing sublimation isn’t really the fuel that’s needed to contest with our current escalation of crisis. We live in times of such phenomenal ugliness — if anything, the wavelength can be tapped into harder, for there’s so much at stake, and it’d be nice to get some inspiration from an older source. But this song isn’t it.

Edward Okulicz: I don’t remember L7’s thing being that they were a dinky grunge-pop band; I remember that their thing was that they were a speaker-trashing buzzsaw of riffs and pop and general kicking of asses (and a quick refresher of “Pretend We’re Dead” and “Andres” confirms that I am not wrong). Is one of them blowing into a kazoo on the chorus? This shouldn’t sound jaunty, right?

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Disaffected but biting vocals, crunchy guitar riffs, mechanistic drum patterns: yup, it’s an L7 song. I was never very fond of their music, so “Burn Baby” registers as little more than another superfluous reunion single from a beloved ’90s band. I’m happy it exists, though, because it means bands are more and more comfortable with coming back and making the music they want to. Fans will be happy, but L7 won’t be convincing any past naysayers.

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