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Mannequin Pussy: I Got Heaven Album Review

February 29, 2024 - Music

“To be feminine,” singer and guitarist Marisa Dabice recently said, speaking historically and contemporaneously, “is profane.” If Dabice and her bandmates celebrated that profanity over a decade ago when they christened their band Mannequin Pussy, their new album, I Got Heaven, is a bacchanal. It’s a mouthy, messy, self-assured record that seeks out conventions primarily to taunt them—genre and social conventions, sure, but also the conventional wisdom that says the delicate flower of a woman’s desire wilts if removed from its man-made greenhouse. Like Hole’s Live Through This, perhaps its closest antecedent, it revels in its most uncomfortable contradictions. It shows its ugliest face, and it always comes out on top. It’s hard to imagine an indie-rock record better suited for the moment.

There is nothing on I Got Heaven like the slick romantic catharsis of “Drunk II,” the instant-classic single from the band’s 2019 album Patience. “I still love you, you stupid fuck,” Dabice sings to cap the first verse. That line became something like the band’s calling card, whether wittingly or not, the kind of punchline you spend an entire concert waiting to scream back. It’s vulnerable, almost affectionate, but its power relies on the protagonist’s feeling beholden to someone else against her wishes, if not her will. The stupid “fucks” on I Got Heaven, meanwhile, come from the act of fucking itself, experienced gleefully by people willing to risk their independence and self-sufficiency if it means getting theirs. When Dabice sings, “Rewind yourself, get me off, make me feel so elite,” it’s basically impossible to imagine her ever singing “Drunk II” again.

I Got Heaven is at its best when Mannequin Pussy laugh their way past feeling conflicted. In the title track, Dabice is a dog panting at the knee of a stranger, equally ready to bite or hump depending on how things go. By the time the chorus comes around, though, she’s practically cooing. “Oh, I’m an angel,” she sings, “I was sent here to bring you company.” It’s not a negation of the fantasy—in the very next verse, she wonders aloud what it would be like if “Jesus himself ate my fucking snatch,” her voice nearly breaking into a moan—but an acknowledgment that even a woman playing the dominant hornball role still has to navigate the men who think the whole thing is their gift.


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