Monday, 18 July 2016

I Need An Umbrella: Kristin Hersh & Bipolar Disorder
Kyra MacFarlane
She sways back and forth with hypnotizing eyes, singing of snakes and moving like one. Entranced by her own mysticism, influenced by her overwhelming brain sways. Kristin Hersh is a force I cannot ignore. Her lyrics are obscure poems that form her own dialect, shape her own sound in alternative/college rock. Her guitar winding melodies around my mind, around my heart. Perverse dives, and abrasive strums that make me aware she is more than alive. She plays the way mania feels. Drums that pitter-patter and make her songs careen like the controlled car crash she crafts. 

Rat Girl is Hersh's memoir, and a champion in describing many of my mental leanings. Recently, I was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar, and reading about bipolar (before I knew I had it)  in such descriptive, and beautiful terms was a way of introducing myself to the capabilities I posses because of my disorder. While dealing with my disorder is immensely trying, and Hersh's is no doubt more so, Hersh's writing style is inspiring to writers, those who have bipolar, and musicians (I happen to fall in all three categories.) I know the person she tries to impress the most is herself, and this is both a harrowing, and admirable position. I have found that in striving for self-betterment for myself, I have felt more joy than when I was trying to play mental chess (guessing what others will think, two turns in advance - this is part of my anxiety, which is an intrinsic issue I would argue) with any artistic endeavor, or any small task. In my opinion, Hersh's success is largely due to her owning her perceptions, and sharing them unabashedly. She is creating worlds, and if you don't want to live in them, that's your choice. 

Hersh's written language is wielded so carefully, so artfully, her musicianship described as such an abstract force, and a powerful one at that. Her poignant lines have been etched in my brain - she describes "losing her music" after being in a car crash, stopping her medication when she became pregnant, and watching herself perform (she was repulsed and unfamiliar with her movements.) In Hersh's discussion of feeling alienated due to her illness, she creates a path for those who have it and who read her words - she is someone to connect to. Though, she is far, she is close to my conscious being. I feel comforted knowing that her understanding of the world is poetic, and tragic, and memorable, and that I have the capability to use my understanding for similar outcomes. 
Her musical contributions are so vast. She has played in Throwing Muses, 50 Foot Wave, and even has her own solo project (she is touring the U.K. this year actually!) I look forward to hearing her for many years - once I move past dancing to my already beloved favorites. 

Instead of an album review, I will discuss a few topical songs from multiple albums. 

"Fish," Throwing Muses (Throwing Muses, 1986). 
Even at an early age, Hersh was able to separate sounds to create conversely memorable musical tracks, defined by punctuation between colliding drum beats, and guitar parts. "Fish" is a prime example of Hersh's handle on complicated noises, and her ability to create a harmony (by using harmonies, in fact.) The beginning of Rat Girl finds a young Hersh staring at a Jesus sculpture on the wall - she notices it looks like a fish. This peculiarity, and the many peculiarities she can identify with her keen eye and fascinated mind help to shape her lyrics. "Fish" is a haunting song, with vocals that trail, and tremble to a steady cavalry-reminiscent drum beat. The song features counting, an interesting template within a song, a way of measuring and keeping track of a feeling so all-encompassing, it attempts to break the boundaries of the song. This building feeling provided by the counting, creates an eerie suspense that is broken with Hersh's chant "Don't worry/ dance in the road/ and it explodes..." Hersh attempts to create a solace within an unforgiving landscape, a noise (Hersh has commented that "mania is a very noisy thing"), and the woman who seeks to define that noise rather than be defined by it.  

"Mania," Throwing Muses (Hunkpapa, 1989). 
"Mania" is an easily distinguishable tune from Throwing Muses' repertoire. It's jarring, relentless sound moves fast like one's mind during a manic phase.The song is almost reminiscent of Syd Barrett's lyrics on Opel - psychedelic, frightening, vigorous.  Hersh's lyrics are cryptic, symbolic and surprisingly catchy. It moves like a train coming right towards you. Starkly contrasted from the polished sounds on University, and the soothing melodic songs with her cousin Tanya Donnelly, "Mania" is an unforgiving song, a song that conveys utter peril: a distress Hersh is able to relate through music rather than suffer with in silence. Perhaps, the most sharp lyric is the repeated line "I need an umbrella..." which is finished with "if I'm going to go insane" and later "if I'm going to slit my wrists." The song sounds like a Southern anthem on cocaine. Drum beats like bullets, guitars like wires around the perimeter of the song - a claustrophobic exploration of a sickening, and intense pseudo-reality. The song is urgent like Hersh's pleading eyes.

"Counting Backwards," Throwing Muses (The Real Ramona, 1991). 
Throwing Muses' sound is radio friendly on this track, subdued, but the lyrical presence in between the polished sounds is still mysterious, hypnotic, and unorthodox. The Muses' presentation became very well known, but the chaos, and the inexperience that principled their music is often ignored behind the winding, and rewinding harmonies that have characterized their cacophonous sounds: sometimes ironed, other times jagged and stained with the dirtiness of life - with unapologetic tragic confessions. Hersh's fascination with counting is another motif that leaves the listener to count along, to trace her thoughts and planned movements, alongside guitars, and drums woven so carefully to create a roller coaster of dips and rises that portray an instability I feel all too familiar with. 

"Snakeface," Throwing Muses (University, 1995). 
Hersh's lyrics, and the music work in tandem to create a slow, seductive song laced with sin and sway. Hersh's fascination with snakes comes into play to create a mellow tune that is memorable, staggered with pain-stakingly placed drum beats, with an escalating bass part that creates ripples, much like Hersh's side-to-side stage sway. Hersh describes a figure embodying a snake, creating a song about sex, and seduction with a hesitation conveyed elegantly, and deliberately as if she were a snake charmer. 

"Bright Yellow Gun," Throwing Muses (University, 1995). 
"Bright Yellow Gun" is a Muses 101 track. That's no coincidence. The song has all the unique liquid lyric Hersh is composed of, in a beautiful package. The song is addictive, a throbbing puzzle that Hersh invites you to complete: 
  I have nothing to offer
  But a circus in my head
  In the middle of the bed
  In the middle of the night
With tight drum beats, and guitar that cuts in and out to bring a complicated focus: a guitar solo that features an unforgettable rhythm as Hersh's chant "Bright Yellow Gun" is repeated reliably, fading but never really leaving.  

Just as "Bright Yellow Gun" fades out, a racket still droning, waiting to be silenced by Hersh and a record producer, Hersh is still waiting to be silenced. She is a river flowing, a cascading noise that echoes in fields surrounding it. A dam can only push the ideas closer: make the ideas more present in her mind. Hersh may feel out of control because of her disorder, but she is in control of her powerful sound - she is a brave, and important figure whose legacy is underrated, but whose essence will always remain in the hearts and heads of those who need her most.  


    How can I ever stop thanking Dr William for the great deed he have done for me, i got an accident when I was 27 years old, from that day on i started experience ringing ear (tinnitus) i have taken all the western drugs prescribe by various doctor but to no avail . my tinnitus was very loud in the afternoon and I sleep less at night because of this problem i stop my work, few days later i was going through the Internet and I saw a post of so many people testifying about Dr William herbal remedies on how they was being cure for over many years suffering from tinnitus the story Really motivated me that I have to speak with my husband about it, and he said i should give him a try, i contacted Dr William and explain all i have be facing in my life. He assured me that everything is going to be fine if only I can get his herbal portion, i said yes and I requested for it, few days later the herb was sent to me in Kuwait,i started using it as instructed by Dr William for me to take it for 21 Days which I did, can you imagine after talking Dr William herbal medicine for just two weeks i started experience results, it was like a miracle,and now i am permanently cure from this terrible tinnitus, i promise that am going to publish his herb on thing my last breath for the great deed he have done for me. For those with similar ear problem should please contact him on his email address drwilliams098675@gmail his a good man and am proud of him.

  2. Thanks to Dr Williams I am so happy today, I have been suffering from tinnitus for the past 2 years now, and i have spent a lot on western drugs which has all proved abortive, i have tried all means in life to become tinnitus free , but there was no answer until i decided to try herbal solution and i found Dr Williams online and i contacted him and after I took his medication as instructed, i am now tinnitus free within those week of usage, i am so much happy, thanks to Dr Williams for helping me get my life back again without any form of crisis, i promise to tell your name and good deeds to the whole world,if you have tinnitus you can email him on for more information .

  3. I have been in the tinnitus community for a while now and I have experience what you are going though with tinnitus , I do know people that have got
    tinnitus from having their implants done. Ringing in the ear after an implant can go away on its own, but that is BS of what the mouth and jaw specialist said. I have definitely seen and heard of a connection between tinnitus and teeth and mouth. There is a treatment for ringing ears and if you are
    interested you can contact Dr William herbal remedies that what I take that stop the ringing in my ear that was really driving me crazy, don't Lose hope .,I have found a solution for my fellow citizens . If you haven't I would suggest trying Dr William herbal supplement. Again, this is a thing that takes time and usually requires time and patience for it to work WITH no side effects. But I'm not hear to sell you the product, I'm only hear to tell you that it works, but it is a journey and can be difficult. I hope at this point it want away on it own. Good luck . his email address for advice and for his product

  4. With Dr Williams herb i was completely free from tinnitus.You are an amazing doctor.Matching diagnosises aside, I just want to be your friend. Lol You inspire me on a feminist level. On an intelligence level. you are a good man doing so much for mankind, level.Thank you for being you.For keeping a lot of us . For reminding us that we aren’t a fucking statistic or a status, we are still PEOPLE. With brains and personalities and jobs and lives.I’ve only been diagnosed for so many years now with tinnitus, and the roller coaster of emotions is all too real.I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say thank you. From the deepest part of my soul. THANK YOU.You give us all an indescribable level of comfort and absurdness in sharing our diagnoses and, almost a green light to continue to celebrate our lives,for you always been there.For every jerk who throws you hate, there are hundreds of us thanking the universe for you.for more information about Dr Williams product you can email him on

  5. Am Teresa from United state.
    I felt so awful when I was diagnosed with tinnitus. I felt like my life was ruined since the Dr told me that there was no permanent cure. Upon all of my constant research, I stumbled upon Dr Williams blog and articles of his good work that have been published. YOU ARE AMAZING. You have given me hope. This tinnitus have cause me so mush pain that my life was deteriorating.Dr Williams You are so courageous and I don’t know if I’ve ever looked up to someone so much. Being famous for writing is my dream and I also have always wanted to make a difference in the world somehow. You are doing both and I think its the deepest thing ever. The world needs people like you to end the tinnitus stigma. Never stop being you and thank you for being a voice for us all,you can also email him on for his product.


    Appreciation is the key to doing more that is why I have took some time out to thank some one who cured me of my 4 years tinnitus problem. It became a major problem to me as it was affecting my life and I was no longer comfortable so I decided to look for a solution and I came across a post of Dr Williams and how he has been helping people of the same problem with his herbal remedies I contacted him and tell him all I have been facing in my life. He told me how to get his product and how to take it after every thing I find out that all was now okay with me and that my tinnitus problem was gone that is why I have come out today to say thank you to him and for any tinnitus problem either from man or woman. Contact him on his a man that take good care of his children