A Personal History of Music, Day 26: “Cut Your Teeth,” by Kyla La Grange

John Scalzi

Because I am a hopeless, story-seeking nerd, I have created a whole backstory to the video to the Kyla La Grange song “Cut Your Teeth,” which is taken from the album of the same name. Very briefly, La Grange and her background singers are in hell, for whatever reason they have found themselves in hell, and their eternal damnation is to be part of a kitschy music box-like existence, in which they perform for whatever devil spawn happen to be wandering by and want to be momentarily entertained. There’s more to it than that — I could go on — but that’s the gist of it. Whether this has anything to do with how La Grange and her collaborators imagined this particular video is aside the point. This is my fan fiction and I’m sticking to it.

Mind you, I wouldn’t be whomping up a whole backstory to the video if the song didn’t work for me so well that I made a choice to listen to it over and over. And in fact this song, and the entire album it’s part of, are very much up my alley, icy electronica paired up with stories of loneliness and heartbreak (sometimes La Grange’s, sometimes someone else’s), sung in a sweet but disaffected voice by La Grange. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t listen to albums all the way through very much anymore, but Cut Your Teeth is one I put on and let run. It’s a whole mood, and sometimes I want to spend an hour inside a mood.

That mood is enough that it’s fair to say that La Grange is my favorite “new” artist of the last decade or so (“new” in quotes here because Cut Your Teeth is from 2014; as I get older my definition of “new” stretches). She in fact just put a new album this year, which makes me happy. There are new videos. I have no made backstories for them. Yet.

— JS

2 Comments on “A Personal History of Music, Day 26: “Cut Your Teeth,” by Kyla La Grange”

  1. This is a haunting song which – I agree – it’s possible to listen to repeatedly. What really makes it for me are those keening background vocals that first show up at 0.42. Creepy!

  2. She’s always fascinated me as an artist. Her first big record was this sort of Nick Cave-ish southern gothic kinda thing, then her second was all this moody electronic music, working with of-the-moment producers. She was clearly on a trajectory for constant reinvention, which is tough to pull off but really impressive when done right. I’ve yet to give her new one a spin; I have high hopes.

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