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Review: Elastica’s “Stutter”

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Single: “Stutter”
Album: Elastica
Year: 1994

Justine Frischmann’s drunk boyfriend drops by her house. He’s barely able to talk but he wants to discuss an important issue between them in the brazen “Stutter.”

Aloof, pushy guitars and drums open the single. Frischmann compares her boyfriend to a wind-up, buzzing and chattering without any purpose. He arrives unexpectedly and sloshed. The fact that he’s wasted doesn’t bother her. It’s what he says. She would like him to be a happy drunk. She won’t expect his intimacy in return. “Like a wind-up toy you stutter at my feet/And it’s never the time, boy/You’ve had too much wine to stumble up my street/Well it isn’t a problem/Nothing we can’t keep between the sheets/Tell me you’re mine, love/And I will not wait for other bedtime treats.”

In the chorus, she’s curious if he’s insecure. She owns her sexuality while he seems to be threatened by it. He won’t sleep with her if he’s had a bad day at work or indigestion. She wonders if he’s coming over to say she’s touching him wrong or dating someone he could mold. Most importantly, she thinks it’s her personality that’s turning him off. “Is there something you lack/When I’m flat on my back/Is there something that I can do for you?/It’s always something you hate/Or it’s something you ate/Tell me is it the way that I touch you?/Have you found a new mate/And is she really great/Is it just that I’m much too much for you?”

She tells him not to appease her with empty phrases. He’s being patronizing and not saying what he really means. She tells him he can avoid his own problems on his time. However, there is something up with them which can be resolved. He gets argumentative with her while she has to force him to talk. They are on different pages and not communicating. “Don’t feed me a line, boy/I can hear that voice you use upon the phone/And there’s no need to be coy/That is something you can do upon your own/Well it isn’t problem nothing we can’t solve so just relax/Am I on the wrong train, love/And will I have to tie you to the tracks.”

In the chorus, Frischmann adds that she would like him to be truthful with her. It could be anything, however. She leaves the lyric open-ended. “Is there something you lack…I really want you to/Oh oh oh ouah oh ah/I really want you to/Oh oh oh ouah oh ah.” \

The amazing “Stutter” features some great lyrics (“Is there something you lack/when I’m flat on my back…Am I on the wrong train, love/And will I have to tie you to the tracks” ) and stolid vocals. Frischmann is fed up and needs some answers. The only time she really talks to him is when he’s intoxicated. For her, it’s a game she feels she has to delve deeper into and confront.

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About Pam Avoledo

  • http://xrrf.blogspot.com simon hb

    Interesting. I’ve always thought of the song as being an update and more elegant Too Drunk To Fuck – he’s had too much to drink, can’t get it up; “had too much wine to stumble up my street…”

  • http://dusk411.joeuser.com Pam Avoledo

    Actually, Simon your p.o.v is the correct one. On a fan site I went to, Justine Frishcmann was quoted saying “drunken boyfriends.”

    I like your p.o.v. better. It makes a lot more sense.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Temple Stark picked this for an Editors’ Pick of the Week. Go ahead and find out why here.