Remember #banbossy? Sheryl Sandberg and the Girl Scouts came together to try to scrape the stigma off of female assertiveness. Editorials were written; tweets were hashed. There was a shiny PSA starring Jane Lynch and Beyoncé. Many resources were levied against some insidious double standards.
It was probably worth it, but they could have just sicced Speedy Ortiz on everyone. In “Raising the Skate,” Sadie Dupuis and the boys take on the same issue, combining showing and telling into a blunt, clever four minutes. “I’m not / bossy I’m the boss,” Dupuis explains, while the instruments smash themselves into the pavement. “If you wanna row you’d better have an awfully big boat.”
Dupuis doesn’t shirk the less slogan-ready parts of the equation. The song starts out pensive and simmering as she describes walking around the block, trying to get “cool and ready,” before the chorus kicks in. She adds a witchy quaver to the “crone” part of “crony.” And she slyly borrows a lot of fraught vernacular from much less rah-rah contexts (“shooter not the shot . . . I’m chief, not the overthrown”). But the emotional arc of the song is clear. By the end, the drums and guitar are pulling the curtain aside for Dupuis, who swaggers into the last chorus without any defensiveness: “That’s ’cause I’m the boss.”
“Raising the Skate” is the first single off Speedy’s upcoming full-length, Foil Deer, and if its sound is any indication, the album’s going to be both killer and familiar. Speedy’s signature twists and screeches are all here, and the few new elements—ghostly echoes in the post-chorus, some radar-gun background guitar—just foreground the fleshiness of the rest of it. Listen to this too much and you’ll get cauliflower ear. Eat your heart out, Sheryl Sandberg.