Or listen now at: www.punknews.org/bands/onsind
Firstly, thanks for getting hold of this record! In an effort to stir things up a little bit, and step out of our comfort zone, we set ourselves a pretty weird challenge with this one. We decided to write songs about characters from popular Hollywood films . More specifically, we decided to write about ‘female’ characters that have had a significant impact on popular culture. The way we measured this wasn’t exactly scientific, but one thing each of the characters we picked share in common, is that the person portraying them won the ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role’ Oscar for their troubles. Hopefully that’s a fairly good barometer for mainstream ‘impact’.
The songs are intended to be both critical and sympathetic. It seemed like an interesting way to explore the way that gender is represented in popular culture, without simply making an obvious point over and over (i.e. Hollywood is sexist). This way we got to explore other issues from within the stories, as well as the wider context- how the stories are received and how they impact on our understanding of gender roles etc. Without getting into too much boring detail, we wanted to explore things like the gender binary, the ‘male gaze’, performativity, objectification, heteronormativity, heterosexism, essentialism and other oppressive, hierarchical value systems and dualisms and how they might be perpetuated, or undermined by mainstream cinema.
We also wanted to write four good songs too. Hopefully we’ve managed to accomplish at least some of what we set out to achieve.
What follows are four songs about four famous characters; two protagonists, and two antagonists; two ‘law enforcers’ and two ‘carers’; a rookie FBI agent and a veteran Sheriff; a dispassionate autocrat at a mental institution, and a sadistic former pediatric nurse. The themes of the songs include cannibalism, helplessness, fear, mental health, murder, therapy, greed, intrigue, disability, fame, deception, creativity, desperation and torture among other things. So that’s a bit of what you can expect!
We hope you enjoy this record! It was a lot of fun to write and record. There are possibly some very mild spoilers in the lyrics (and explanations), so we recommend watching the films some day if you haven’t already seen them. The songs, as you’d expect, are totally packed with references!
Nathan and Daniel
(February 2012 )
Three of the movies in question are adaptations of novels. Please note that we are not dealing with the novels here, just the movies! Sorry!
Each character is female bodied, white, (apparently) heterosexual, middle class, cisgender, and able-bodied. The justification for choosing four characters from the same broad social demographic is that this is the way that the overwhelming majority of leading female characters in mainstream cinema are portrayed. It would be interesting to explore, for example, Halle Berry’s character in Monsters Ball (2001), Hilary Swank’s transmale character in Boys Don’t Cry (1999) or even John Cameron Mitchell’s character in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001), but these movies are less well known and the characters in question are sadly rare anomalies within a dominant and largely homogenous Hollywood hegemony.
Trigger Warnings: Mental Illness, Depression, Anxiety, Violence.