Rock Hard / Live Nymphomania

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Nowadays it’s laughable to even bring up female sexuality in pop. In 1988, however, it was mildly scandalous to hear a chick-rock band singing about needing sex "Six Times a Day" (as Pandoras vocalist Paula Pierce advised, against an arena-worthy backdrop of Van Halenesque riffage, "Once is not enough"). The Pandoras commenced as an L.A. neopsychedelic outfit in 1983 but gradually morphed into the lean, mean, metallically informed estrogen machine that recorded the six-song Rock Hard. Practically every cut eschewed metaphor for explicitness: In cowbell kicker "He’s Coming," Pierce snarled, "He’s coming, yeah, baby/Come inside just where you fit so tight," and even the comparatively coy "Close Behind" ("Give it your best/Keep on pushing hard") sounded suspiciously like Pierce wasn’t dispensing self-help advice but singing about taking it up the bum. Sonically, Rock Hard isn’t particularly dated, bringing to mind classic Joan Jett while prefiguring the Donnas. Newly appended is 1989 concert disc Live Nymphomania, an equally hot-wired set; Pierce’s orgasmic yips in "He’s Coming" will make you forget Meg Ryan’s restaurant scene in When Harry Met Sally once and for all. The band split up not long after, members Melanie Vammen and Kim Shattuck going on to form the Muffs. Pierce, sadly, died of an aneurysm while exercising in August of 1991.

Fred Mills writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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