Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Let's talk about this five-point-five rating for a second.

On one hand, a 5.5 rating could mean average, middle of the road. If an 11 rating is what an imaginary critic would award the greatest album ever made (The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, The Beatles' Rubber Soul) and a 0 rating is what critics would give a genuinely terrible album (Kevin Ferderline's Playing with Fire), then a 5.5 rating would mean average. It's not the greatest album ever made, but it's by no means the worst.

But a five-point-five rating could mean something else, as in the case of Party Line's Zombie Terrorist. A five-point-five rating could mean it's awesome.

And by awesome, I mean "Awesome!" the way Napoleon Dynamite or Jeff Spicoli might say it.

Consider your own album collection. An 11 would be the best album you own, one you consider to be musically superb, one that you could listen to in any emotional state or scenario, one that you love so much, you'd get rid of all your other music just to have it (Radiohead's OK Computer, in my case). And a zero in your collection would be the guilty pleasure albums you own, the ones you only listen to alone, the ones you'd be embarrassed for your hipster friends to find (No Doubt's Rock Steady in my case). A 5.5 record in your personal collection could be one of two things:

  • It could be an album that you really loved at one point in time, but only keep because of its sentimental value, and haven't listen to in years. In a sense, it used to be a 9 or 10, but now it's dropped to a 5.5 (Pearl Jam's Ten in my case).
  • Or those 5.5 albums in your collection could just be purely Awesome! They're not the best, and they're not a guilty pleasure, but they're just plain fun. They're the kind of music you put on at parties. The albums you play when you need to get motivated to clean your apartment. The ones you listen to on road trips.

It's by this definition that Party Line's Zombie Terrorist received a 5.5 rating: because it's just plain fun.

Let's explore the Awesomeness! of Party Line.

Awesome! example number one: The album cover is a DIY drawing of Party Line's three female members (front woman Allison Wolfe, guitarist Angela Melkisenthian, and drummer Crystal Bradley) and a purple, sunglasses-wearing gorilla or something. Each member is turned into a caricature version of herself that leads to the question, "Who are these girls?" (Remind you of some other three girls we all know and love?)

Awesome! example number two: Party Line plays upbeat, guitar-driven tunes about the most random of topics. Much like the Ramones, they never play more than a few chords in any particular song, and the vocals are monotone and don't range much in keys as the album progresses. But who cares? It's an all-out, throw-the-microwave-from-the-hotel-room-window party to the end.

Awesome! example number three: The lyrics.

  • On "Party-N-Animal:" "My mom always kicked your ass, rolling over in her grave."
  • On "Zombie Terrorist:" "We're not scared of zombies, just terrorists."
  • On "Trophy Wife:" "What will you do when they come for you? What will you say when they take you away?"
  • On "No Romantic:" "Give me head or give me justice."
  • On "Earthlings:" "All you Earthlings, take me to your dealer."

Awesome! example number four. Cool sounds.

  • A news report about a crazed high-school boy falls toward the end of "Zombie Terrorist."
  • Is that cowbell on "X-Hearts?"
  • Glass being shattered punctuates the line, "Fuck your dishes!" on Ladies' Room.
  • On "Casual Encounters," amusement park "woos" add more to the fun the girls seem to be having.
  • Here's my personal favorite, though. On "Nuthaus," when the three members of Party Line yell their first names, "Allison, Angela, Crystal," it's apparent drummer Crystal Bradley is not accustomed to piping up on the mic. Her voice sounds as if she's either in excruciating pain, or trying to push out a fart.

So here's the recap.

  • Number of times the word "awesome" is used in this article: 12
  • Rating for Party Line's Zombie Terrorist: 5.5
  • Level of Awesomeness! on this album: 11