Death to Neuroticism

The Force-Fed Fun of Be Your Own Pet



I'm kind of scared of Be Your Own Pet, which is embarrassing because I'm too young to be scared of this band. Be Your Own Pet are a punk band from Nashville whose oldest member can't drink, or, well, at least he's not supposed to. I'm not either, so these are my people, but Jemina Pearl, Be Your Own Pet's short-circuited frontwoman, appears to have spent her just-concluded teenage years in a destructive, adorable sugar rush, whereas I spent mine compulsively alphabetizing things.

I'm a little hung up about this. But I like this band because they screw with my hangups until I'm forced to forget it. Enough spiky-sweet punk songs about bratty debauchery and I move past resistance, toward furtive enjoyment. Enough Pearl-squeals about towns so boring that someone has to die, and I'm actually comfortable with her. Halfway through their sophomore album, Get Awkward, I'm so sold on her unrepentant-delinquent schtick that when the Russ Meyer goof "The Kelly Affair" comes along ("Everybody here parties all the time/Everybody here has got sex on their mind") I'm disappointed to hear her protesting too much. Then someone giggles, "I dunno, I'm TRIPPING," on the bridge and I realize she's probably making fun of me.

Get Awkward sparkles with irony—real I-didn't-expect-this-but-it-makes-sense irony—and the most romantic song is "Zombie Graveyard Party," which, as expected, goes "Life is lame so let me eat your brain." The most complex song is "Heart Throb," where the worst part about wanting to make out with a potential boyfriend is that he's "making me think way too hard." And the best song on Get Awkward isn't actually on it, because Pearl kills "Becky" (the title character in the controversial song of the same name, which was deemed acceptable for release everywhere but the States) at the end, and you're not allowed to do that on a Universal record. Unless you're Eminem. This is usually not my thing, but that's why I'm going.

Eventually you run out of stuff to alphabetize.


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