WOWEE ZOWEE (5)
January 31, 2018
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the subject of our favorite albums of the Nineties (1994–2003). A new installment in this series will appear each Wednesday during 2018.
HIPS AND MAKERS | KRISTIN HERSH | 1994
Hips and Makers, Kristin Hersh’s first solo album, could be heard as an anthology of caustic, foreboding folklore or luscious fairy tales, depending upon how you absorb the lyrics. “Hersh seems to be singing in a space bathed in light, irradiated by the unbearable lucidity of despair,” Simon Reynolds wrote in his 1994 Spin Magazine review. For you, Hersh’s intensely visual songs might reflect a sense of devastation. For me, the album was the first thing that told me that it, just being in the world, might be okay.
I spent a significant portion of the 1990s taking care of someone with dangerous bouts of untreated mental illness; it was an incredibly difficult challenge, and one I hadn’t chosen. I was terrified of the future as I saw it unfolding, and I felt entirely alone.
When Hips and Makers was released, many of the reviews and interviews mentioned Hersh’s own struggles. I was shocked to see someone speak so openly about mental illness, and her metaphoric descriptions were not only eerie, but familiar. Hips and Makers, as an introduction to Hersh’s world, became the first of what would become my unexpected, personal set of guidebooks to moving forward despite the circumstances of the time.
More than 20 years later, I regularly return to Hersh’s entire discography, and Hips and Makers in particular. It remains striking to me that if the album was made during a time when she was still wrestling for her footing, it somehow simultaneously became one of my most important anchors for proceeding in the world. Hips and Makers convinced me that pushing through personal destruction could manifest beautiful, important things; the album helps me not go adrift.
WOWEE ZOWEE: Stephanie Burt on UNISEX | Anindita Basu Sempere on UNDER THE PINK | Mark Kingwell on DUMMY | Bill Nericcio on AMOR PROHIBIDO | Sherri Wasserman on HIPS AND MAKERS | Mimi Lipson on THANK YOU | John Overholt on BEN FOLDS FIVE | Jordan Ellenberg on GET LOST | Chelsey Johnson on PERSONAL BEST | Marilyn Snell on MAXINQUAYE | Dan Fox on DIFFERENT CLASS | Devin McKinney on IF YOU’RE FEELING SINISTER | Alice Boone on MTV UNPLUGGED (ALICE IN CHAINS) | Rob Wringham on SPICE | Joe Alterio on BEATS, RHYMES AND LIFE | Jason Loeffler on SECOND TOUGHEST IN THE INFANTS | Rick Pinchera on EITHER/OR | Josh Glenn on THE LONESOME CROWDED WEST | Jennifer Krasinski on SUPA DUPA FLY | Sara Ryan on DIG ME OUT | Luc Sante on MEZZANINE | Molly Wright Steenson on I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE | Franklin Bruno on ENGLAND MADE ME | Michael Campochiaro on IS THIS DESIRE? | Adrienne Crew on CALIFORNICATION | Drew Daniel on I SEE A DARKNESS | Veda Hille on THE SOFT BULLETIN | Vanessa Berry on TEENAGE SNUFF FILM | Tom Kipp on GET SKINTIGHT | David Hirmes on DOPETHRONE | John Hilgart on YORK BLVD. | Deborah Wassertzug on JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT | Adam McGovern on INVINCIBLE SUMMER | Brian Berger on TIRED SOUNDS OF… | Michael Grasso on MUSIC HAS THE RIGHT TO CHILDREN | Jen Collins on HURRAH | Flourish Klink on THE TEACHES OF PEACHES | Judith Zissman on TALLAHASSEE | Lauren Oliver on SOUND-DUST | Jason Cohen on IS THIS IT | Matthew De Abaitua on THE RAINBOW CHILDREN | Jenny Davidson on TIME (THE REVELATOR) | Crystal Durant on LIVE THROUGH THIS | Gordon Dahlquist on GARBAGE | Erin M. Routson on WASHING MACHINE | Carl Wilson on TEMPTING | Jessamyn West on ALL HAIL WEST TEXAS | Kaleb Horton on STREETCORE | Tom Nealon on BAZOOKA TOOTH | Erik Davis on DOPESMOKER | David Levine on FEVER TO TELL | Deb Chachra on MASS ROMANTIC.
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