Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Whose Girls?

Of my hundreds of faithful readers, there are only a few of you who know my feelings about Animal Collective--namely that I can't seem to understand what all the fuss is about. However, that lack of understanding is probably a topic for another day. All I'd like to do right now is to post a sample of the lyrics to "My Girls," one of their more satisfying cuts, followed by an audio clip of the song. Knowing what I know about their left-leaning politics and such, it would seem that the band would try to avoid essentialisms and endorsements of materialism. However, "My Girls," arguably, seems to rely pretty heavily on stock gender stereotypes (the titular girls are their--the masculine vocalists'--girls), and I wonder if it's possible not to care about social status but yet to want a house. Finally, what's up with the romantic conception of "adobe slats"?


"My Girls":

There isn't much that I feel I need
A solid soul and the blood I bleed
But with a little girl, and by my spouse,
I only want a proper house

I don't care for fancy things
Or to take part in the freshest wave,
But to provide for mine who ask
I will, with heart, on my father's grave

On my father's grave
(On your father's grave)

I don't mean to seem like I care about material things,
Like a social status,
I just want
Four walls and adobe slats
For my girls

My Girls - Animal Collective


  1. That's a beautiful sentiment. I personally see more of a reference to family love and values than to any gender rights discussion, but hey I could be completely missing something.

  2. I think the song's cuteness resists interpretation. I just can't believe that they intended it to have any sort of profound meaning.

    Except, adobe slats? Are they from the Southwest?

    It seems OK with Marx to want certain things. To be able to live "somewhere between subsistence and comfort" like it said in the Woolf introduction is necessary to be productive. Most people Animal Collective's age are working towards that goal right now, which maybe explains the song's otherwise mysterious popularity.

  3. AC are from Baltimore, actually. And I agree that this song is cute. It's one of their better ones because, as an esteemed colleague of mine once noted, their music needs a backbeat, which is something that "My Girls" has.

  4. Maybe I've been working for too long, but for some reason the only thing I can think of when they say adobe salts is the acrobat reader thing that people use to save documents online.

    Anyway, it seems to me like this song plays to the new contemporary view of women in society. Way back when it was trendy for women to stay in the house and cook (Detergent commercials etc...) and all kinds of popular culture depicted women in the kitchen, house, living room, bedroom, etc... Then if my history is right we completely threw everything into high gear and it became trendy for women to become independent (I am woman hear me roar etc....), Vriginia Wolfe's dream. Now, it seems to me like contemporary society is saying that its trendy for women to find the middle ground, the working mother. Someone who is powerful in business, politics, etc.. but still realizes the importance of family and being a good mother (think Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton). From what I'm getting from this song thats what I think there pandering too. Essentially saying don't mess with us because we're awesome, but we also have family values. Love us Society!