I read about Two Nice Girls in Ms and promptly went out to our local radical bookstore in Chapel Hill to get all of their albums that I could find. So, two. Noona’s Revenge is one of my favorites and particularly apt this week:
Something terrible has happened to Noona but the specifics aren’t given. It’s all off stage:
Noona was suburban
She’d never seen an El train
Never saw the harm in leaving her defenses down
But he’d stolen something precious and
he left her feeling foolish
And he left her feeling helpless,
It was gone, gone, gone
Some sort of sexual assault was, of course, my first thought. But it can be read as being about “mere” seduction, though that, itself, is tricky. The violence of the possible responses is suggestive:
She could have run him over
She could have dropped him under
He could have lost his balance,
Took a seven storey fall
It could have been an accident
I’m sorry, oh excuse me
Someone starts a rumour and it isn’t nice at all
Part of what elevates the song is that ambiguity: are these possibilties under or over reactions or somehow both?
There could’ve been some gunfire
it might have been a slashed tire
There could’ve been some phone calls
In the middle of the night
It could’ve been somebody
Met the train head on
But Noona’s revenge was to write this song
Without the music, the actual revenge can seem odd: is writing a song which fails to identify the aggressor much of a revenge? Is she having a “best revenge” (as in “the best revenge is living well”)? Or is writing that song powerful in the way we often want art to be?
And my favorite bit is that it’s clear that Noona didn’t write the song! It’s a lovely paradox esp when the music resolves so strongly.
I’m betting Noona’s voting in the midterm. I’m voting with her.