In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, in honor of the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, we’re talking about songs with holidays in their names.
Corin Tucker Band, “Groundhog Day,” 2012
The first track from Corin Tucker’s second solo album isn’t about a holiday per se, in as much as the Bill Murray movie of the same name isn’t really “about” Groundhog Day either. In the two decades since Groundhog Day’s release, the film’s title has become shorthand for inexplicable, dispiriting repetition—the kind Tucker sees after stepping back on the stage after taking time away from music to have children. On her mind is the struggle of women, that just when we “almost had a woman go and run the White House,” “we fight the same battle, over and over again.”
Tucker’s debut album with her new band, 1000 Years, traded Sleater-Kinney’s bombast for something quieter and more restrained. But Kill My Blues, released two years later, found the singer-guitarist reconnecting with the fire she showed in her old band. Sleater-Kinney frequently examined similar themes in its music, the inspiration never abating because the problems never go away.
Tucker worries that’s an indictment of her and her generation: “Did I lay down, did I fall asleep? / On the backs of the women who have come before me?” she sings before adding, “Is our generation stuck in a deep rut?” She complains not so much that the kids who came after her fell down on the job when she stepped away to be a mother, but that everyone is settling for “almost good enough.”
Just as there’s a grand tradition of protest songs, there’s a parallel tradition of songs anxious about the state of protesting—nothing scares a revolutionary more than complacency. Tucker grapples with that concern on “Groundhog Day,” ending with a question no one can answer: “What are we missing? Tell me how can we move on?”