Scene Queen – ‘Hot Singles In Your Area’

By Katherine Allvey

We’ve had ‘don’t judge by appearances’ drilled into us since birth, and no one proves that to be true more aptly than Scene Queen. Maybe you caught her set at Download, saw the blonde with pigtails gyrating to songs about oral sex and thought you’d accidentally shown up to the wrong festival. Within less than roughly two seconds of listening to her music, you realise quickly that Scene Queen AKA Hannah Collins’ cutesy ‘Bimbocore’ stylings are just a front for vitriol and vengeance, her songs refreshingly blunt and explicit.

“Headline spot goes to the abuser, half my idols are fucking losers,” she croons on bold track ‘18+’. The repercussions of #metoo and allegations against far too many noted alternative musicians are still being felt, and still ongoing. Many female artists now feel able to share their experiences, and it’s wonderful that an atmosphere now exists where this is welcomed. But there haven’t been many full rage tracks yet, spitting bile against those who abused their positions of power. ‘18+’ goes straight for the jugular – “get those children off your bus”. Sure, it’s a catchy ear worm, but the fact Scene Queen so unambiguously tells the hideous truth about musicians who take advantage of fans is what makes this a brilliant song. She’s tapped into the current of fury felt by many. The anger you feel when you hear a friend has been hurt by a man had been turned into brutal pop. ‘Whips And Chains’ imagines a dominatrix going on a Kill Bill-style spree against the guy who spiked her drink, and on power cardio number ‘Pink Push-Up’ she wishes, “if I could go back in time, and keep a gun in my bra…” Someone has to scream the truth, and Scene Queen has decided it will be herself.

“If I was a man, I would fuck the world over. If I had a dick, I’d be dangerous,” she sings on ‘Girls Gone Wild’. Fair warning, the rest of the songs on ‘Hot Singles In Your Area’ that aren’t about wreaking havoc on half the population are incredibly sexually open and detailed tunes. The thing is, her songs aren’t that much cruder than what’s said by so many male vocalists (and far more focused on mutual pleasure rather than exploitation), but the combination of her adorable voice and lyrics about pleasurable adult activities comes across as disruptive in the best possible way. After being initially taken aback, you question yourself. Why shouldn’t she sing about consensual sex between adults? Why do we only expect her to sing about heterosexual romance? That’s the point of the entire Scene Queen project. You question your assumptions about what you expect from a female vocalist in the alternative scene, and that can only be healthy.

From the outset, Scene Queen is obvious about her viewpoints. Nearly the first line of opening track, ‘BDSM’, is “Scene Queen hates men.” This is going to alienate more than a few potential listeners. And that’s okay. Her music isn’t for them. It’s for folk who acknowledge that there are issues in the metal and metal-adjacent worlds, who jam out to cringey pop when its on the radio, and realise she’s nearly nude onstage because she wants to be, rather than feeling like she has to or she’s told to.

Above all, even though Scene Queen covers some heavy themes, ‘Hot Singles In Your Area’ is a fun album. The combination of satirically upbeat pop hooks and metalcore shredding is a winner, and while the purists will sneer at the more ridiculous aspects of her sound and live shows, these are the kind of tunes that’ll get you both twerking and slamming in quick succession. Scene Queen weaponises the stereotypes of her gender and genre to create a vibrant sound, and rather than creating a dark fantasy take on the pop-meets-metal corner of the scene she’s dived into fully accentuating both halves of her inspiration in unison.

Scene Queen has grabbed our attention with her blend of sweet and deeply bitter Bimbocore bullets. Let’s see where she can take it next after this powerful debut.

KATE ALLVEY

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