Perfect records stand up. It's been more than a month for both the Hissyfits' "Something Wrong" and Bush's "acoustic" version of "Come Down" and both records are still growing.
I heard the Hissyfits' "Something Wrong" from a pink or red vinyl seven-inch single on Mutant Pop with the overall title All Dolled Up when a DJ at Radio K in Minneapolis picked it out of a bin because she liked the sleeve: three women dressed in party slips, one wearing leopard-skin, another a tiara, the third a dog collar. They're a New york City combo with an EP due soon on the German label Sounds of Subterrania: their promo stickers show little girls screaming and pounding the floor. If they start with the Shangri-Las they turn a corner with the Who and before you know it you haven't heard them before. Guitarist Princess, Bassist Suzi Blade, and drummer P-Girl --all sing-- come on like a complaint in the middle of a storm. You can't believe that the complaint is coming through the heavy weather all around it, but soon it feels as if the storm is just there to carry the complaint. It's feedback in the orchestration, setting up completely unpredictable shifts in tempo and rhythm, that lets the voices come across so strongly --that, and a pop sense of melody as an end in itself, as a kind of smile inside the worry of the songs.
"Something Wrong" --which is in the film Survivors-- has the nervous momentum of Sarah Jessica Parker's character on Sex and the City at her most discombobulated. It starts fast and picks up speed, the kind of speed you only want more of: Maybe they could go even faster? They can: once the band has the woman in the song emotionally undressed, frantic at herself, looking in the mirror and only "There must be something wrong with me there must be something wrong with me" coming out of her mouth, they cut in another, staticky voice. The woman is criticizing herself: now there's this other person, who sounds like she's coming out of the radio, giving her an even harder time. Maybe it's the voice of her superego; maybe it's you, the listener. Whatever it is, it's creepy. Then it makes the record. Until you hear it differently.
Both Bush's revison of "Come Down" and the Hissyfits' "Something Wrong" sound incomplete: oddly open to the sense that there is no last word. Maybe that's what keeps the recordings alive day after day, through hundreds of plays, but that's not what makes them perfect. What that is, I have no idea.