Sharptooth – Clever Girl
"You’ve caged us up for far too long
But now there’s hell to pay
We’re opening the doors you’ve locked
These claws will seize the day
You ran your mouth, the time has come
For you to run and hide
Your only value is the fun I’ll have when I rip out your insides"
Where’s the meaning?
Baltimore band, Sharptooth, is keen to not only bring metal to the masses but to also use their platform to engage the disaffected and address a myriad of social and political adversities. Clever Girl, the title track from last month’s debut album, is a great example of their forthright vocals, as evidenced in the quote above. The track is inspired by an argument that vocalist Lauren Kashan had with a guy who tried to tell a group of women, many of whom were survivors of sexual assault, how they should feel about sexual violence.
Sharptooth’s music is a “call to arms” for any and all marginalised people, offering a voice to help them fight back against oppression of all forms – be that by other people, society, sexism, racism or bigotry of any kind.
As Lauren tells us: “Sharptooth makes a pointed effort to combine our art with activism, and while this isn’t a route that everyone is going to take, it’s very important for us. Our goal with many of these songs is to start conversations. A lot of the topics we deal with are very nuanced and complex, and it’s impossible to address all of those facets in one song, so I’d like to think of each song as a starting point for people to have conversations with each other, and in their music scene, about the social and political issues impacting us today.
“I think that then, once that conversation is started, we have an opportunity to offer resources and solutions for people at shows if they want to get more involved with a specific issue. It’s a twofold effort: start the conversation through the music, and then offer resources or opportunities for involvement.”
Sharptooth is devoted to the pursuit of offering something for everyone, regardless of their musical tastes, especially when it comes to their lyrics. Lauren said: “I’d say that the content of the songs is hugely important, especially for getting people into the music if they’re not into metal or hardcore. I can’t tell you how many people, particularly women, have been at our shows and have told us that we’re the first heavy band they’ve ever seen, or that they’re not typically into hardcore or metal, but that they loved our message and wanted more.
“That’s so exciting for me. I think everyone has something in life that they’ve wanted to scream about at some point, and we’re just working to provide that for everyone. That’s also why representation is so important. I have the ability to talk about issues that affect women or queers, so women and queers are going to be more likely to relate to some of those things. The more diversity we have in heavy music, the more different people of all different backgrounds will have the potential to find something in it for them!”
It’s safe to say the messages on Sharptooth’s debut album have spurred conversation. They’re always going to have their haters from certain people, but Lauren says the band is pleased that it has made a positive impact on their target audience. “From the people that matter, the reception has been fantastic,” she explained. “Particularly from other women or LGBTQIA+ people. Getting messages from people telling me that they relate to the songs, or that they feel represented by us, or that they see themselves in the music has been one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of my life. Those are the people I scream for; the people who have yet to be heard and who want equity and equality. And the people who want to learn as well!
“It’s been really exciting talking to people who might not totally get or align with all of our subject matters, but who are open minded and tolerant enough to have an actual conversation with us. That’s been so rewarding as well; having the opportunity to connect with other human beings on that level.”
- The lasting Sharptooth message and this segment’s muse point is simple, and best taken directly from Lauren: “There’s so much hate and intolerance in the world today; it’s honestly a pretty scary place sometimes. We can make it less scary when we put in the work to listen to each other, connect with each other, and help amplify each other’s voices. Be good to one another.”