September 24, 2014

EP: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - S/T

Paying tribute to the one and only Judy Blume.

Judy Blume is a conservative mother’s worst nightmare. But to young girls around the world, she’s a confidant, a mentor, and a best friend. In fact, Judy Blume is THE writer that takes on the voice of puberty horrors, adolescent angst – the voice that shouts, “Yes! It’s okay you look at boys that way, and yes! You’re allowed to be disgruntled and confused, and yes, you’re allowed to question everything – and yes, you’re meant to be growing hair there despite what the world’s telling you!” – the voice that taught us all the way the world REALLY worked. She's the voice that stopped us all from squirming about the weird fluids coming out of the weird places of our body that we refused to call by name. Judy Blume is all these voices, and more – but in one of her novels in particular, she interconnected these voices to become one: that of a thirteen-year-old girl by the name of Margaret, the narrator of Judy Blume’s infamous paperback, "Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret".

Last month, Australian-based label Cinnamon Records put out an EP that worked as a tribute to this novel. It’s got everything a good old fashioned Judy Blume prayer needs – there's some breasts, some banter, some bleeding, and some boys. The five-piece behind the project really impressed us, and sure as hell socked it to us, through their short-lived band. The group released one EP, played a handful of shows, and put together one zine that showed everyone in the audience how to go home and keep this project alive within the walls of their bedrooms once the band had disappeared forever. Cathy Petőcz, the project’s leader, made their last show a once-in-a-lifetime through the recital of her favorite chapters as shes stood over her keyboard stand, one hand at her heart, the other clutching that dog-eared paperback we all know too well. Cathy let her fleeting last words for this project shine. Thankfully, we have these five songs to remember them by.

This EP preserves everything a girl is as a preteen – the bubble-gum pop bursts hard enough to stick to a girl with pink feathers bouncing off the end of her pen. But Cathy’s occasional shrieks, squeals and sharp elbows to the gut allow enough of an edge that any girl in pink won’t be left feeling unwanted and misunderstood when her hormones roll around. This group perfectly deconstruct and reassemble the sound of Margaret’s inner monologue, all of her doubts shouting over one another as four-way harmonies recap everything that runs through her worrisome sixth-grade brain: “I’m not sure if I even wanna kiss a boy / they smell gross and they try to step on my feet, in gym class / I’m not sure if I wanna kiss a boy”. Thick, fuzzy guitars and loops of viola feedback thread each thought together, and all four women of the band tie the album together by the final track, with one last shout: “Are you there, God? It’s Me, Margaret, can you hear me? I don’t know what’s wrong with me / can you please tell me where I need to go? / Are you there, are you there, are you there are you –“ –and an impression like that definitely lasts.

This EP is the best and the worst of your "Seven Minutes in Heaven" memories. It’s the time the nastiest girl in middle school walked in on you eating your lunch in a toilet cubicle with you ankles clamped together hiding the blood stain between your thighs. It’s the time you kissed a boy for the first time and you clamped your teeth down on his tongue purely out of nervousness. But you learnt what French kissing was by the end of that night, and puberty didn’t last forever – so by now, we can all look back and say that the pimples, the school discos, the bad haircuts, they were all worth it in the end... and this EP will bring back those memories better than any humiliating yearbook photos ever will.


Listen to Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret bandcamp.

Madalyn Trewin, a scrawny Australian teenager, who is feeding her obsession with dogs, David Lynch and Daniel Johnston twenty-four hours a day. If not that, she's writing about things she likes and saturating her friends in glitter so she can take photos of them to post onto her blog.