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Pom Pom Squad - Death of a Cheerleader Music Album Reviews

Pom Pom Squad - Death of a Cheerleader Music Album Reviews
Equally indebted to pioneering girl groups and her punk heroes, the New York singer-songwriter’s debut is a fiery exploration of love, anger, and coming-of-age.

In 1999, a satirical comedy film called But I’m a Cheerleader proposed an astonishing lead character: a cheerleader who isn’t quite like the other girls on her team. She gets whisked away to a hilariously straight-laced conversion-therapy camp on the suspicion that she might be—gasp—gay. “I’m a cheerleader!” she whines in hesitation, as if this makes it impossible to fall outside societal norms. The movie marked a memorable early instance of the divergent cheerleader, an increasingly popular trope that drives the creative mind of 23-year-old singer-songwriter Mia Berrin, who makes bratty grunge-punk as Pom Pom Squad. On her debut, Death of a Cheerleader, the New York musician stakes her claim to pleated miniskirt canon, joining the ranks of those who’ve weaponized cheer imagery to disrupt convention.

Cribbing its title from another movie about a popular high school girl with a secret, Death of a Cheerleader marks a period of self-acceptance for Berrin. The album came about partially as a reckoning with her own queerness, as well as with her multiracial identity, which she didn’t see represented in the indie rock world: “Rock was invented by a Black queer woman—Sister Rosetta Tharpe—but I grew up feeling like I was odd for loving guitar-based music,” she explains in press materials. Self-produced alongside Illuminati Hotties’ Sarah Tudzin, Death of a Cheerleader is an amalgam of Berrin’s influences, which span Billie Holiday, riot grrrl bands, and angsty cult films. Equally indebted to pioneering girl groups as well as her punk heroes, the album is a fiery and compelling—albeit slightly uneven—exploration of love, anger, and coming-of-age.

Informed by her own memories of pairing Dr. Martens with her school uniform and perusing cool-girl bible Rookie Mag after class, Berrin alludes to adolescent rebellion throughout Death of a Cheerleader. She recalls kisses stolen under the bleachers on “Head Cheerleader”: “You should ask your mother what she means/She said stay away from girls like me,” she sings. On the brutally hot-blooded “Lux,” she envisions herself attending the homecoming dance as the eponymous protagonist of The Virgin Suicides, delivering several of the album’s best lines in one fell swoop: “How do you expect me to figure myself out when I cannot tell the difference between bad and good attention?” she roars, evoking Katheen Hanna’s snarl in a swell of guitar noise.

Elsewhere on Death of a Cheerleader, Berrin falls into a softer, more romantic mode, though its effectiveness varies. In the middle of the album is a cover of Tommy Jones and the Shondells’ 1968 classic “Crimson and Clover” that does little to revamp the original; between punkier moments like “Lux” or “Shame Reactions,” Berrin’s version feels out of place. Other songs like “Forever” and “Be Good” also tap into a ’60s pop aesthetic, but come off feeling too temperate. Berrin’s cheerleader character serves as a culmination of the identities and influences that made her, though it seems she’s still refining what that means for her music. The “death” of the album’s title feels more like a disavowal of arbitrary expectations—both those about cheerleaders themselves and about how a queer woman of color ought to present herself in rock music. “It was empowering, in a way, to put on the bitch costume and be the bitch,” Berrin has said of her stage persona. Death of a Cheerleader strives to pass the torch to like-minded underdogs with aspirations to someday become that girl, too.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Pom Pom Squad - Death of a Cheerleader Music Album Reviews Pom Pom Squad - Death of a Cheerleader Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, July 07, 2021 Rating: 5

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