Oh come on. Oh come on. Oh come on. It’s one of those phrases that can be meant at least three wildly disparate ways: inviting, incredulous, creepily bullying. Kathleen Hanna is as cagey with the words as her voice is sharply expressive on “Oh Come On,” the first track from her upcoming debut album with the Julie Ruin. The nervy energy beckons us to be this uninhibited; cryptic barbs like “Make it popular / But still say it with a pout” land like sardonic (self?) mockery; the guy barking at us to get in the car now sounds like — well, imagine if some guy came up and barked at you to get in the car now.
The video, the first from the full-band incarnation of an alias Hanna used for a 1997 solo album, doesn’t crack the song’s urgently fragmentary code. It’s mostly straight-up performance footage, interspersed with deadpan posed clips of the Bikini Kill-Le Tigre singer and her current crew. The space is just a small room, its white walls festooned with holiday lights strung up to spell out “the Julie Ruin.” What a performance, though: fearless, writhing, wacky in the right places. In the end, there’s a “fancy knife fight embrace,” and you can’t “get away,” and everybody says “you didn’t try.” Hanna’s take: “Oh come on.” That guy barking at us to get in the car now, keyboard player Kenny Mellman, gets the gruff last words.
The Julie Ruin’s Run Fast is due out on September 3 via the band’s own TJR Records (distribution is being handled by Dischord). If you watched this video, you will probably want to check the Julie Ruin’s tour dates.