Misery Is a Butterfly


Blonde Redhead wants to creep you out, but in a good way. Ten years on, this New York threesome
has shed the dissonance of its early efforts, with Kazu Makino’s breathy voice striking a note of
dreamy anxiety that will speak to fans of the Cure or Björk. Swirling, melancholy melodies
echo the romantic sweep of a vintage Italian film score, as lonely guitars and low-budget keyboards
add ominous drama. Like R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, Makino excels at understated intensity, whether
murmuring “I must have felt so much pain” on “Doll Is Mine” or “learning how to fall” on the jittery
“Falling Man.” When the band finally erupts with “Equus,” the punchy rocker that closes the album,
the sense of release is palpable.

  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.

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