Veruca Salt: “Seether”
Veruca Salt showed up on the music scene in 1994 with the pop and bang of “Seether,” from their album American Thighs — a great single from a great album. Nina Gordon and Louise Post led the band and gained attention for being one of the harder-rocking female-led groups around at the time. But whereas, say, Hole could also make that claim, Veruca Salt leaned in a much more poppy direction, coating their punk/metal leanings in sugar. And it certainly didn’t hurt that Gordon and Post were a very attractive dual-guitar attack — personally, I kind of had a thing for Louise. But their debut album was one catchy song after another, regardless of their looks, succeeding as well on the slower songs as they did on the heavier ones.
Of course, any band that names themselves after a character in a Roald Dahl book is one step up on the competition in my book anyway. In fact, Veruca Salt was all about the pop culture references: note the nod to AC/DC in their album title. Their next full album (following 1996’s hilariously titled EP, Blow It Out Your Ass It’s Veruca Salt) was 1997’s Eight Arms to Hold You — which Beatles fans will recognize as the working title of the Beatles second movie before finally settling on Help! But the cool references couldn’t help them in the long run — despite some great songs on Eight Arms, it wasn’t critically well-received and didn’t do all that well commercially. Gordon and Post had a falling out, and Gordon left the group for a solo career. Post picked things up and continued on, but it was never quite the same.
Regardless, American Thighs is a great album, and “Seether” is one of the great pop-metal songs of the ’90s. Post’s slightly rougher edge and Gordon’s sweeter tones mesh perfectly on this song of the inability to control the inner beast of jealousy and rage. (Oddly, I happen to very coincidentally be watching David Cronenberg’s The Brood at the moment, which deals — more creepily — with rage becoming physical manifestations.) Lack of control has rarely sounded cooler.