One Random Single a Day #24: “Paraffin” (1995) by Ruby


Today’s got me in a bit of a bluesy mood, so this review won’t be too long. I mentioned on Twitter that the last review had me pining to write about something other than music by white men, so I hit shuffle on the randomizer until it gave me a woman performer or woman-led group. Thus, I stumbled upon Ruby and their interesting single “Paraffin”. Ruby is not so much a band as it is a duo collaboration between singer Lesley Rankine and Mark Walk of the industrial group Skinny Puppy. Their music lies firmly within the confines of the trip-hop genre, with the gloomy beats and pervading, depressive atmosphere similar to the likes of Portishead and Sneaker Pimps. However, their most popular and successful single, “Tiny Meat”, does sound more in the range of guitar-oriented 90s alternative rock – something along the lines of Elastica or Garbage.

But back to the song in question – it is a weird one. After a couple bars of a staticky drum machine establishing the atmosphere, we get Rankine singing the opening lines: “Old man’s ass / Fifty heads wide”. Yeah, I’m just as confused as you are. And the rest of the song doesn’t quite clarify this opening any more; the remainder of the lyrics are mysterious in ways that range from imaginative (“There’s a flower thief in my backyard again / I’ll grin my teeth to make him stay”) to just plain vague as hell (“Are we all wrapped up, wrapped up together / Are we all wrapped up, fit for the kill”). But really, the centerpiece of this entire song is with Rankine herself, who sings each line with such vigor and sensuality, growling during certain phrases and nearly moaning during others. Whatever the meaning of this song, it must be something intense. This song mainly just gives the impression that it would work really well in a David Lynch film, but its cryptic nature may be a bit too off-putting for me to really say that I love to any significant degree. Still, I’d recommend to pretty much anyone looking for some chill trip-hop with chilling female vocals.

Oh, also, I’m probably going to do the next few singles reviews on women for the next few days, just hitting the randomizer button until it gives me some women musicians. This challenge needs some more diversity, damn it!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s