Eau d’ Bedroom Dancing

I could not have discovered Le Tigre at a better time. I’m late to the party, of course; debuting in 1999, the band has three years on me in terms of existence alone, but we have aligned just right at this particular moment. Me, coming to terms with the catastrophic, viral state of the world, and the remnants of my coming-of age. Them, cruising along the gritty and grungy Riot grrrl movement of the 1990s, singing about the struggles of expression and love and feminism. Anger, inward gazes, and attempts to find peace within oneself are things we share, despite the twenty years of distance between us.

Le Tigre’s self-titled debut album features all the passion and shading which characterized the punk feminism movement of the 1990s. The record is an onslaught of electro-pop and punk influence, paired perfectly with Kathleen Hanna’s crooning and unapologetic vocals. The songs are wild and sincere — sometimes even funny, and always an experience. The album is something to wholeheartedly feel; in times when it seems like community and nearness are almost slipping away, it’s nice to lean in and sink into the complete humanness of the record. For me, it’s a searing and necessary contrast to the world we currently occupy.

Right now, there’s a shift happening in how we express ourselves. College students — who before relied on social spaces and physical nearness — are being forced to look inwards. En masse, childhood bedrooms are becoming solitary hubs of social interaction and study. As a result of  this transition, I’ve felt an immense pull towards the younger versions of myself as I was growing up. When my friends and I virtually hang out, we talk about each of our latest regressions into childhood interests. Now that so many people are stuck in their childhood settings, it seems unavoidable. But with Le Tigre, I saw something new and different, something to grow into. Despite the harsh, sometimes brutal sound, it was comfortable. The music resonated with me and where I am in life: screaming youth, struggling against what I cannot control, and desperately seeking some kind of solace within myself. Most importantly, and against reason, all of these elements encompassed by Le Tigre fit just fine within the four walls of my bedroom.

One of the most important tracks to me is one that sheds the lively, merciless quality which prevails through the majority of the album. It’s more mellow but just as cutting; called “Eau d’ Bedroom Dancing,” the song is about soft love and self expression — it is perfect for the era of social distance and online schooling. It’s an ode to the peace of one’s own space; when Hanna gently croons, “I’m in the sky when I’m on my floor,” I find myself agreeing. Despite the moments of obligatory seclusion, my time alone and comfortable has been the most freeing and meaningful to me. Though this peace and comfort has always been there, it certainly had to be cultivated further. The almost six months of isolation has been the perfect and fiery involuntary crash course.

The concept of “bedroom dancing” certainly isn’t new. Its simple joy is characteristic to youth and coming-of-age. Creating a space to wholly be yourself and feel each of your emotions is necessary, even ecstatic, when one lives in a home that doesn’t totally belong to them. Bedroom dancing as told by Le Tigre is peaceful, an escape from fear and expectation. Despite the problems of the outer world, to look inward is to get away. This is a principle that anyone can rely on, and Le Tigre’s forms of bedroom dancing are certainly not limited to the physical act of dancing, though the freedom and relief from that particular activity is invigorating. But finding that release is essential.

In this age, bedroom dancing is often the only way to dance at all. But clinging to that space, to that expression, can make getting through these times just a little bit easier. Solace in the self is important and lasting, and though finding it can be a long and difficult process, it is entirely necessary. If you are having trouble, consider turning to Le Tigre for help in the search. They have certainly helped me.