Radio Vulva! (Winter 2004 at All About My Vagina)
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Into the Menstrual Night

Playlist

In my research for this issue, I downloaded a lot of music. At some point, out of desperation, I started entering “vagina” into Soulseek and downloading everything that came up in mp3 format. I employed this tactic extensively with menstrual keywords in trying to find 28 remotely relevant songs for the menstrual song cycle. I was expecting an overload of juvenile punk rock about sex change operations and girlfriends with PMS, but a much more powerful trend emerged immediately. Before I even downloaded anything. Right in the results list.

Over 90% of songs with vaginal titles are grindcore, that genre that praises its heroes with words like “pulverizing” and “jaw-dropping aggression” and “crushing onslaught.” It's what you get when you go further than death metal. I don't know enough about this music to begin to tell the songs apart— I didn't even figure out the proper name of the genre for a few days (and now fully expect to be corrected by a fan in the audience, who has a more accurate criterion for identifying grind than what I call “The Roar”).

Not wanting to dismiss any potential brilliance for being simply beyond my usual listening scope, I kept downloading tracks that were obviously going to feature a vocalist prone to emitting a crushing, pulverizing, penetrating roar of pure static from his throat. Obstructed Menstrual Activity, by Feculent Goretomb. I Dreamt I Had A Vagina, by Intense Hammer Rage. Vagina Berserker, by Gut. Anno Clitoris 666 Opus II, by Dying Fetus. A variety of tracks by Anal Blast.

I put my entire pirate booty in playlist called “Vagina Grind!” and left it to play in the background in case, by some chance, the greatest ode to ovulation ever written should present itself while I emailed Prince and PJ Harvey their lifetime achievement awards. It's sort of like having a vacuum cleaner in the room. The lyrics aren't meant to be intelligible even to dedicated fans. Roar!

Occasionally during the crushing onslaught, I ran into a track that wasn't strictly grindcore despite the best efforts of its title. Bleeding Heap and Menstrual Carnage, by Exhumed, for example, was composed entirely of a sensitive string instrumental, and elsewhere in my playlist I was suddenly greeted by Celtic maidens singing a folk song of some kind. Is that in fact the exact opposite of the roaring man music? Faerie girl music? Maybe that is what happens when you go so far into the extremes of grindcore that you get to the other side. You get “Into the Menstrual Night We'll Go” (hey ho hey ho/Into the blue woods we shall go/hey ho ho).

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