Album: Washing Machine
. . .
Washing Machine was recorded in Memphis, and it’s possible that being out of their NYC comfort zone in the laid-back South contributed to some of the looseness of the record. Also contributing: the fact that Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore were the proud parents of their first child, Coco, who made the trip to Memphis with them.
In any event, in her memoir, Girl in a Band, Kim says that being a new mother got her thinking about The Shangri-Las, resulting in the loose, laid-back “Little Trouble Girl.”
Now, I’ve written about my relatively late discovery of just how awesome The Shangri-La’s were: sure, everybody knows they did “Leader of The Pack,” and I’ve raved more than once about how I think “Train From Kansas City” is maybe the greatest song ever, but it turns out that Kim Gordon borrowed from the same song that the New York Dolls did two decades prior: “Give Him a Great Big Kiss.”
And since one of the keys to the Shangri-La’s was the juxtaposition of female voices, “Little Trouble Girl” brought in a ringer to sing with Gordon: the always awesome Kim Deal. And so, over quiet guitar and an even quieter break, Deal and Gordon open the song singing in harmony with help from Lori Velvette & Melissa Dunn. Because the Shangri-La’s originally had four singers, too.
If you want me to
I will be the one
That is always good
And you’ll love me too
But you’ll never know
What I feel inside
That I’m really bad
Little trouble girl
But of course, the voice you hear the most is Deal’s, as her unique girlish voice stands out from the blend, even while she’s doing the background “sha-la-las” as Gordon goes into a spoken-word section which starts with that lift from “Give Him a Great Big Kiss.”
We were close
Very, very close (Sha la la)
You taught me how to fit it good (Sha la la)
Flow down life you understood
Curl my hair and eye lash (Sha la la)
Hitch my cheeks and do my lips (Sha la la)
Swing my hips just like you (Sha la la)
Smile and behave (Sha la la)
A circle of perfection, it’s what you gave
In the end, Deal fades into the distance a bit as everybody chants “little trouble girl uh-huh” over and over and over.
Despite — or maybe because — it didn’t really sound like anything else that they’d ever recorded, Sonic Youth released “Little Trouble Girl” as a single, with the expected lack of results, though the video was reliably weird.
“Little Trouble Girl” Official Video
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