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Call the Doctor

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 25, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sleater-Kinney's masterful sophomore effort Call the Doctor fulfills all the promise of the group's debut and more, forging taut melodicism and jaw-dropping sonic complexity out of barbed-wire emotional potency. The emergence of Carrie Brownstein as an equal shareholder in Corin Tucker's vision is the key -- her four contributions (particularly "Stay Where You Are" and "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone") are stellar, while her harmonies complete Tucker's equally superb lead turns by reading between the lines to verbalize the naked aggression at the core of the songs' polemic power. Forget the riot grrrl implications inherent in the trio's music -- Call the Doctor is pure, undiluted punk, and it's brilliant. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide


Sleater-Kinney's musical manifesto is a wake-up call to not only the old boy network, but to young women who find themselves increasingly at odds with it. Helmed by Corin Tucker (Heaven's To Betsy) and Carrie Brownstein (Excuse 17), this trio is not only furious and formidable, but genuinely significant. On a musical landscape populated by open sewers like The 7 Mary Bush Pilots Idiot-Grunge Revival or Hootie's Home for the Terminally Bland and Sensitive, Tucker's spine-shivering voice shrieking "I wanna be your Joey Ramone / Pictures of me on your bedroom door" cracks through the narcotic haze of mediocrity like a rat tail on a bare bottom. When she declares herself "The Queen of Rock & Roll," I'm inclined to smile and think "If only." Cultural importance aside, this rocks. Their eerily dead-on Sonic Youth snippet in "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" had me checking the credits for a Kim Gordon cameo, while "Little Mouth," "Stay Where You Are" and the incendiary title track are some of the most raging chunks of punk found around these parts since Greg Sage shook the rain off his rubbers. More than recommended: required. --John Chandler

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Call The Doctor
  2. Hubcap
  3. Little Mouth
  4. Anonymous
  5. Stay Where You Are
  6. Good Things
  7. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
  8. Taking Me Home
  9. Taste Test
  10. My Stuff
  11. I'm Not Waiting
  12. Heart Attack

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 25, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chainsaw Records
  • ASIN: B00000219M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,730 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Call the Doctor is the blinding work of genius that was the true signifier that Sleater-Kinney had arrived.
This was the band's critical breakthrough and, not surprisingly, also the band's strongest collection of songs until The Hot Rock.
It always pays to put some thought and muscle into your songwriting and this album is proof. Corin doesn't have to scream as much to be heard (when she does, though, on "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone", it arrests your attention because she isn't doing it on every song anymore); arrangements and performances can be subtle (eg. on that simple two-note riff to the bridge of "Call the Doctor", the quiet guitars on the verse to "Joey Ramone", the backing vocals on "Stay Where You Are", the sparse, effective "Hubcap"), and the band shines through with unshowy, rock-solid prowess.
To call this "punk rock" is too simple. Both Call the Doctor and The Hot Rock transcend the punk roots of Sleater-Kinney's individual members into something far more lasting and evocative. For all the yelling and controversy the riot grrls aspired to (eg. Tribe 8's ridiculous, sensationalistic act, Bikini Kill's mouthy Kathleen Hanna, Courtney Love baring her breasts left and right), this is the truly worthy legacy left by the female punk movement: Brilliant music that makes you feel the beating of your own heart; messages that transcend gender lines; full-fledged proof that women are equals to men in rock, without ever having to say anything overt about it. Sleater-Kinney don't mouth off with empty slogans -- it shows you what it means, and convinces you by its undeniable ability.
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Format: Audio CD
Sleater-Kinney is a band I can only talk about using superlatives. Easily the best all-female band in the history of rock. In my opinion the best rock band of the past decade based on actual output (I defy anyone to name a band that has produced six albums as great as Sleater-Kinney has in the past ten years; Belle and Sebastian can come close, but too much of their work of the past five years has been uneven). They were originally viewed as the best of the second wave of riot grrrl bands, but I think that has obscured just how extraordinary this band is. Our society tends to marginalize too many women artists and performers by relegating them to "Female" status, much as I did in the second sentence of this review. Mind you, they are the greatest female rock band ever, but there is a sense in which that helps obscure just how great they are. Radiohead is a great band, but their output from 1996 to the present is not nearly as impressive as Sleater-Kinney's.

CALL THE DOCTOR is my favorite Sleater-Kinney album, but that isn't to say anything bad about the five albums that came after. Employing the Pitchforkmedia rating system, I would give around a 9.4 to CALL THE DOCTOR, and between 8.0 and 9.2 to the next five (which is actually pretty close to what Pitchfork gives them, which, again, no other band I know can match). Other people will prefer ONE BEAT or THE WOODS or DIG ME OUT, but I just like the hooks of CALL THE DOCTOR a bit more than the others. But I truly do consider all six of their post-debut albums--CALL THE DOCTOR (1996), DIG ME OUT (1997), THE HOT ROCK (1999), ALL HANDS ON THE BAD ONE (2000), ONE BEAT (2002), and THE WOODS (2005)--to be absolutely essential.
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Format: Audio CD
Before I begin, I must let you know where I am coming from, I am a gay African-American male, very much into punk/alternative/whateva it's called these days. My introduction to SK came at a time when I was invovled in a BAD relationship and I happened to hear some talk about how good it was, so I decided to check it out.
IT IS BETTER THAN GOOD! It's EXCELLENT! From the stanza of "Call The Docotor" ... "they want to socialize you....dignify, analyze, terrorize you" I was hooked! Who wouldn't be? SK personifies all the emotions of any under-dog of society (or so they make us out to be), no matter who they may be (female, abused, ethinic, etc.) and screams, plays and ROCKS them into a complete fruition of being. This band should have gotten a Grammy for this fine example of punk rock agression mixed with sympathetic/empathetic emotion.
Then I heard "Good Things" and my world transformed. I instantly related the song to my current state and found the strength to move on to something more productive and healthy besides a messed up (I'm being quite tame) realtionship. "Getting better, worse, I cannot tell..." says it all. "Why do good things never want to stay?", well, I guess I will never know the answer to that, but thanks to SK I know that even the bad has an alternate side that will sometimes purge itself out. "This time I wiil be alright, this time I will be ok..." are words that I will take with me to my grave.
This band was able to transcend pure enlightment to me in the course of a CD....do I need to say more? Did I mention the other songs? I don't even need too.
Just buy it! It's well worth it!
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