Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bully: Trying [Alicia Bognanno]

In Nashville-based Bully's A-side Trying, frontwoman Alicia Bognanno grinds her vocal folds to characterize a grunge/punk-inspired manifestation of raw youth angst. Gwen Stefani attitude is discernible. Tension, frustration and grinding characterize late teens in their struggle to overcome one identity crisis after another—most of us lived through it.

Bognanno dealt with the female side of the issue. Girls flipping through fashion magazines. Searching for the meaning of elusive beauty, which has been waiting patiently inside all along—to unfold before the world like a rose. Then a infamous feminine delay triggered self-analysis:

I question everything
My focus, my figure, my sexuality
And how much it matters or why it would mean anything1

During adolescence, if not before, kids, especially girls, will develop the classic imaginary audience. Believing she is constantly onstage, she becomes self-conscious, thinking everyone is watching her, that everyone believes she is obese or sees the pimple that she discovered with horror this morning. Walking down the corridors of the mall, she cannot avoid the floor-to-ceiling images of slender Gap models or Britney Spears—like mannequins displaying well-toned abs. It may be impossible for her to pass by a mirror or a shiny show window without stealing a glance.2

Said the Gramophone Pop Bully - Trying (MP3)

Bognanno's image is grungy and cosmetically conservative. Her conversational tone, approachable. New listeners discover a realist. In the studio, the band is no different. Their sonic approach is very analog; every track is recorded directly to tape, advocating uncompressed audio. Reel-to-reel dating back to the 1930s continues to be real to this day. Bognanno explained to The Seventh Hex how she prefers recordings that sound like live performances—indulging realistic fans. She personally engineered Bully's first vinyl LP, Feels Like. Capturing the edgy angst of teen spirit.

  1. Trying. Bully. Startime International/Columbia, 2015. CD.
  2. Girls Rock!: Fifty Years of Women Making Music. . Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. Print. p.122

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