March 28, 2017

Split: Repulsive Woman / Terrified

Repulsive Woman and Terrified perfectly take on two One Direction hits.

Boy bands have always been fun to fawn over, but much of the stigma around the overwhelming fandom of male-centric pop acts is one of misogyny, since these groups are marketed to pander to young women’s emotions. Women are often labeled as “fangirls” for pining over these male celebrities, and condemned for being less cultured for enjoying their music. However, as the generation who grew up buying N*SYNC's No Strings Attached collectible dolls and listening to Hit Clips of the Backstreet Boys grows older, they have redefined what it means to love boy bands. One Direction has received a pass from music critics as being a genuinely great pop act, with songs that are overall loving and empowering towards women, with lyrics like, “You don’t know you’re beautiful.” Much of their fan base it not just young girls, but also adults in their twenties who are nostalgic for the catchy and kind music from their childhood.

New Zealand’s dreamboat Repulsive Woman also makes loving boy bands cool again. They do this with dreamy covers of One Direction’s pop ballads, while making these tracks entirely their own. Even the band name illustrates the world’s condescending viewpoint of the fangirl, and they play into this ridiculous concept with cover art featuring pictures of One Direction glued to their bodies and printed on their clothes. Repulsive Woman’s covers create the tender atmosphere that the famous heartthrobs’ words and melodies deserve. Their third tiny release of this kind, “Perfect" / "Heart Attack,” pays homage to two equally angelic tracks, with the addition of band Terrified taking on the b-side. “Perfect” is reminiscent of gentle twee bands like the Softies, with a clean guitar line following the slow but infectious vocal melody. They sing “Baby I’m perfect for you,” almost as if it's mirrored back to the great Harry Styles. This is proof that there are few things more romantic than singing a song your crush wrote right back to them. Terrified's cover of “Heart Attack” sounds like an ideal mix between Karen O or Beach House, with lo-fi production and the light strumming of an acoustic guitar alternating with full organ synth chords, highlighting the words, “Getting over you”. This version of the single perfectly encapsulates the pain of unrequited emotions, which is a feeling that boy band-lovers know all too well. There should be no shame in loving a band, no matter what band, and no matter how much. This release is a good reminder of that, and maybe we can even hope for a Repulsive Woman and Terrified/1D split in the future.


Listen to the split on bandcamp

Katryn Macko is a Virgo who loves romantic comedies, karaoke, and bagels. She has her BA in Creative Writing from Florida State University and currently works at in Chicago, IL. She is also the certified #1 fan of the Bud Light Lime-A-Rita brand.