From patience to control

Mannequin Pussy have captivated my attention since I heard the lyric “I still love you, you stupid f*ck” on the iconic track Drunk II a few years back. They’ve also haunted me since I shared my screen on a work call with the words MANNEQUIN PUSSY prominently displayed.

It feels only right that in order to capture the anger of this week – ya know, fundamental abortion rights being stripped away from us and all – a Mannequin Pussy earworm is in order.

I saw this band back in October and I gotta say: only in Philadelphia do I feel like it would be remotely acceptable (debatable) to come out to a crowd rapping along to Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” before proceeding to scream indie/alt punk jams into the mic for ninety minutes (though the two artists are both similar in their ability to turn up the energy). 

Listening activity: Excellent to bop to when you’re feeling angry and disillusioned with the world.

TW// self-harm, sexual violence

MP’s loud, cacophonous, and at times grungy sound might cloud listeners from at first realizing their deep confessional quality, with songs about heartbreak, trauma, and abuse. But listen long enough and your blood pressure will start rising.

Songs like “Patience” offer apropos lyrics to bang your head to: “Who told you that my body was yours to own?/ And long before you called, it was crawlin’ through the wild.” Lead singer Marisa “Missy” Dabice sings about this virtue, but not without animalistic agitation as she repeats: “Patience/ You know I’ve got it in my blood/Know I’ve got it in my blood.” 

More pride comes through in “Control,” the first track on their latest EP Perfect (2021). It starts tamer than songs like “Patience” and “Drunk II,” with just Missy and her guitar: “I’m in control/ That’s what I tell myself/ When all the walls around me close in.” This feels apt when talking about the same themes of former albums, plus bodily autonomy. 

She describes a familiar craving for control in a chaotic world, or at the very least, over our own lives. It’s after the intro that she begins fully unraveling:

I've come undone
I sliced it how I'd rather feel the hurt
Thanks for watching me bleeding
Out and over all your sheets
For cleaning me
And what I
Oh, what I need
Is just one real bitch
To set me free
The need for control causes the speaker to create her own pain this time, and we can feel the hurt and fury in the delivery. The bitter “thanks for watching me bleeding” and "cleaning me" gives the extra punch to the gut – though other lyric sources credit “bleeding” as “pleading.”

The music video is necessary viewing, especially if you’re looking for inspiration for how to take out your anger, like jumping around, tearing apart a room with a bat, and lighting a bed on fire (please note: this blog does not condone violence but welcomes righteous anger).

The earworm “Yeah I know no one’s waiting for anyone” rings easily. The alliteration of know no one creates a nice bit of repetition to hang onto – and this lyric feels married to the notion behind “Patience” as well. 

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