“You ain’t god, you’re just a fuck boss.”
Those are the first words you hear from Ugly Girls on their recently released Welcome to the Suck. Whatever you think about the phrasing, there is no denying that the message is powerful and macho.
The phrasing is succinct and powerful, which actually comes about by way of inspiration from Chinglish slogans and logos that the band come across on their expat endeavours throughout China.
Their songs come short and fast, in typical punk fashion. Only two of their 12 songs are longer than 3 minutes. Each seems to dilute some degree of anger with the systematic subjugation of women. That anger comes out in different ways, sometimes expressed with seething anger, and sometimes expressed with comic, self-consciousness.
They dropped this album on bandcamp, after playing a whole host of gigs around Shanghai. They’ve already gotten quite a lot of attention in the expat community for Welcome to the Suck. They come as a genuine band, legitimately passionate about their music and their expression.
China has a preoccupation these days with genres that can be associated with 80’s and 90’s punk and subcultural movements. Is it because China is itself on the verge of a cultural revolution; who can really tell?
But what better place for a group that is three-quarters expat to dig into and reclaim old feminist ideologies, like riot grrrl, than in Shanghai, China. Even their name seems to be a farcical nod to Kathleen Hanna, albeit with a sharper tongue in cheek.
It is hard not to be affected by their music. Ugly Girls’ lyrics are hard hitting in a rare kind of way. Lines like “It’s a sick sad world,” and “Who will be my friend when the world ends,” on Welcome to the Suck hit home hard. They poke fun at a lot of the mundane or crappy attitudes that we as humans are destined to fall prey to.
As a human with failings, I find it refreshing to listen to a band like this. On the one side I feel better about myself, alongside juiced up bodybuilders who make an appearance on Yes Homo.
Keep up the good work Ugly Girls!