Spotlight

Colleen Green

“Like coffee for your ears.” – Pitchfork

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Colleen Green couldn’t possibly give less of a fuck. A Boston native turned California girl, Green subscribes to the grungy lessons taught by the Ramones and adds to them the laissez faire super cool of modern California stoner pop. “I just tell them it’s pop punk,” Green says of how she describes her music when people inquire. “Straight up, and usually they’ll say something like, ‘Oh!’” she adds, “but I know in my heart that they don’t REALLY care.” Not caring when you really care is the best line of defense in many situations, and it’s a theme that Green explores thoroughly in many of her songs. “I Wanna Be Degraded,” an ode to the sexy little things we do to feel like shit about ourselves, and the ways that being in love makes it safer to explore them, is a quintessential Green ditty, with a driving guitar line of just a note or two, and sweet, perfectly layered harmonies. It’s straight-forward and simple, and completely describes so much.

With songs about little things—dancing with your friends and wanting boys to like you—Green writes about all the ways we try to get rid of our heartache, something she actually says in the chorus of “Dance the Night Away.” She’s a sad songwriter, without a doubt, and the upbeat, clapping drumbeats and simple chord progressions she employs only facilitate the cathartic explorations of loneliness in her songs. Green also heavily employs the magic of the cover song to get her feelings across, covering everyone from Blink-182 to Nobunny. “I just love songs with catchy melodies and sad sack lyrics,” she says, basically describing her own songs as well, “and I really like singing other people’s songs. Way better than singing my own. It’s so much easier.”

Green’s live show is like a lesson in being the coolest girl in school—she stands stark still, alone on stage (save for sometimes a drummer), her face half obscured by bangs and sunglasses, and sings her songs without many flourishes. She describes herself as “wicked lazy and poor,” but exhudes that I’m-so-confident-I-don’t-even-need-confidence vibe more than anything else. She claims that’s not so, though, and even her signature shades were once a source of worry for Green. She consulted her best friend Kayla, also the namesake behind one of her first EPs, and her fear was lifted. “I was hanging out with Kayla as I often do,” Green says, “and I asked her if she thought I would face mockery and ridicule for wearing sunglasses on stage. And she said something along the lines of, ‘I’m pretty sure you can do whatever the fuck you want.’ Since then that’s been sort of my mantra.”

It’s not just Green who owes a lot to her friends. They provide the inspiration for her songs, for her album covers, for her record titles. They also, she says, are the reason she makes music. “Everyone I know is REALLY nice to me, and it helps me not want to kill myself, “ Green says, maybe laughing, maybe not, “if I killed myself, I wouldn’t be able to make music! So thanks, friends. This one’s for you.” We have to thank her friends as well. Keep it up, Kayla and Jeff and the rest of you, so we can keep listening.