Kittie's debut album Spit was re-released by Artemis Records 24 years ago today. Revisit our 'Greatest of All Time' write-up on the debut classic below:
Kittie were Bikini Kill by way of The Craft, a real-life version of the Hex Girls from Scooby-Doo. They seemed to strike the nu-metal scene in 2000 with a sound so untrammeled all anyone could do was claim them to be the anti-Britney and move on. Producer GGGarth Richardson, no stranger to getting tight takes out of his bands, recognized that Kittie's appeal was in their raw passion. Instead of the Protool’d to perfection sound that was becoming dominant in nu-metal at the turn of the century, Spit has a first-take immediacy that will make you want to jump up and start your own band. The playing is loose and the recording is rugged in a way that summons originators like Adrenaline or Korn’s self-titled except where those records were thrashing about to define nu-metal, Spit is the product of four girls reverse engineering what made those early nu-metal releases so special. In this sense, Spit is the first 2nd wave nu-metal album. Where their forebears cited Faith No More and Ministry as influences, Kittie were fans of other nu-metal bands, eagerly embracing the enthusiastic amateurism of their predecessors while striking out on their own lyrically.
While their compatriots had to grapple with the pain inside, Kittie had to contend with the pain outside. “What do you see in me? / I can't go out at night / Answer me.” fumes Lander on “Raven.” The chorus, “Get away from me! Stay the fuck away from me!” could have come from any album on this list, yet here the raw physical threat, the danger of being a teenage girl in a world of lecherous men, is unmistakable. “Choke” is even more straightforward as Lander and guitarist Fallon Bowman team up to directly call out an aspiring pedophilic creep ("There's only one word that describes you / and that's 'hypocrite'") Morgan Lander - an outspoken and prodigious leftist even then - takes a song like “Paperdoll,” which would be another tongue click at a shallow female in the hands of an all-male group, and instead wields it as a pained statement of empathy as she watches another woman fall to patriarchal pressures. Lander wrote the lyrics to the bruisingly literal “Do You Think I’m A Whore?” when she was only in her late teen years, yet already felt it was necessary to attempt some kind of reckoning with those that forced the titular question into her brain.
Friendship is where Kittie finds their shelter. Their 2001 home movie, Spit in Your Eye, is a document of how close these four were on the road together; playing pranks and gushing over each other in private interviews. It looks like a blast, one of the least dramatic rock docs ever made. Even in Spit’s darkest moments, that binding passion keeps things from ever getting dour. This is victory. No creep could keep them down or discourage them from following their dreams. No matter how many condescending interviews, gross comments, or scoffs from their aggro male peers they had to endure Spit is living proof that Kittie will have the last say.