December 16, 2016

LP: BB Cream - Rose Petal Pie

BB Cream's final album is queer pop-punk perfection.

Hailing from the capital of Canada, BB Cream has been incredibly prolific in their short existence. Since the end of 2015, they've put out three releases: Demo, their first self-titled EP, BB Cream, and now Rose Petal Pie. The band consists of friends Alanna Why, Jon Brownlee, and Kurt Grunsky, who all share vocal and instrumental duties. BB Cream emerged in a time of punk resurgence, but this lo-fi pop-punk band has combined a plethora of instruments and vocal talent in a way that makes them stand out in a cluttered genre. The opening track on Rose Petal Pie, “Burner,” begins with Why's candid lyrics, “It wasn’t love at first sight / It was hardly like / You were there and I was scared / So I left because it didn’t feel right.” The dancey beats and honest commentary on modern relationships sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Compulsory” follows shortly after, switching to Grunsky singing, “Tell me what’s your game / How do you play this game,” about compulsory heterosexuality. Later on, Grunsky notes, “Where have all the good boys gone? / I can’t find them,” pushing the forthright tone of the album even more forward.

BB Cream’s ability to discuss queerness in such a frank manner strengthens their collective ability as a band. They don't rely on hegemonic tropes surrounding love in music and instead poke fun at heteronormativity. “Gentle Lover” slows the album down, as Brownlee takes the mic. He sings, “I made you a cupcake / You can’t have gluten / But you still ate / The cherry on top / Thanks a lot,” and I can’t help but laugh at the lyrics. There’s something so ironic as Brownlee sings about gluten-free cupcakes and riding bikes with a stereotypical head-bopping tempo while building upon the jokes surrounding love tropes within “Compulsory.” In "3 AM," Why returns as the vocalist and gives her personal take on in-between-relationship weirdness. Instead of flipping the script on heteronormativity by providing all of the upsides to queer identities, Why explores the difficulties of being queer. Midway through the song, Why sings, “So I’m going home alone this time again / You didn’t want to fuck at 3 AM / So I'm going home unsatisfied again.” It reminds me of my own experiences in college as a queer individual, oftentimes going home alone because most queer people on campus are either my friend, have slept with my friends already, or are unavailable.

The exploration of raw queer frustration in this song is powerful and typically isn't visible in music. Like PWR BTTM, BB Cream’s accessibility to queer people is not only important, but necessary. So often queerness is relegated to the sidelines within music as heteronormativity takes the stage over and over again. BB Cream rejects this notion and instead places queerness in the forefront. The last song on the album, “Rose Petal Pie,” provides a sincere ending to the album with lyrics like “I don’t know where I’m going to go from here  /But with that I’ll be okay / You are the one that I adore.” Little did I know when listening to the album that BB Cream just wrapped up their time together as a band. At the end of November, one year from their inception, they played their final show. Although I'm bummed BB Cream's time has come to an end, I'll always know what song I'll turn on when I return to my dorm room at 3 AM on Friday night without someone else.


Listen to BB Cream on bandcamp.

Amelia Eskenazi is a feminist and gender studies and art student at Colorado College. In their free time, they enjoy collaging boxes, dying their hair at 2 am, and eating freeze pops in the shower. Their political pondering and rants can be found on Twitter and their photographic outbursts can be found on Instagram at photobscura_ and a_eskenazi.