Search - Lisa Germano :: Geek the Girl

Geek the Girl
Lisa Germano
Geek the Girl
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Awkwardness, insecurity, and male dominance have long been standard fare for the so-called riot grrrls, but most times their viewpoint is, at least implicitly, autobiographical. There's nothing wrong with confessional song...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Lisa Germano
Title: Geek the Girl
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: 4ad / Ada
Original Release Date: 1/1/1994
Re-Release Date: 5/18/1999
Album Type: Original recording reissued
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 652637401721

Awkwardness, insecurity, and male dominance have long been standard fare for the so-called riot grrrls, but most times their viewpoint is, at least implicitly, autobiographical. There's nothing wrong with confessional songwriting except that it can come dangerously close to self-indulgence if not checked. On Geek the Girl, Lisa Germano frames her discussion of female trouble in a character-driven song cycle and thus manages to distance herself from her album persona--the confused, victimized, and beautiful geek girl. The effect is frighteningly wonderful--a portrait of the horrors and escapist dreams in one adolescent's dysfunctional world. The album is as sonically unified as it is textually. A recurring circuslike theme sets the dark, absurdist tone of the heroine's life, and the songs share a raw but ethereal wash--chilling at times, exhilarating at others, and often both at once. Croaking guitars, wailing violins, and Germano's faint, breathy singing mold impressions of pain and fragility, while the record remains spare and intimate. Geek the Girl is no small achievement. --Roni Sarig

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CD Reviews

An obscure but essential piece of '90s music.
D. Mok | Los Angeles, CA | 08/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Some records are just destined to be overlooked by the masses in their own time -- Aimee Mann's Whatever, The Velvet Underground's debut, Shannon Wright's Maps of Tacit -- and Lisa Germano's Geek the Girl is one of them. Everyone in the rock community who did hear this record immediately acknowledged its importance (four stars in Rolling Stone); this is one album that definitely gets under your skin and carves its own unique place in the world during its first few seconds.

Germano, best known for her wonderful violin and mandolin work with John Mellencamp (best showcased on the excellent, rootsy Human Wheels album), is all over the map on her own records, playing most of the instruments and penning all the songs. She has a great ear for unnatural, disturbing musical beauty: Her own voice is a fragile, broken and sometimes sarcastic croon, kind of like Neil Young's in its often offkey pitch, but still a seductive one, and not entirely pessimistic. Germano's self-deprecating delivery is enormously affecting, but also very unnerving, as she always reveals pieces of you here and there. "My Secret Reason" opens the album heavily with an almost psychotic whirr of distorted sounds. Guitar? Keyboard? With Germano, it's always hard to tell instruments apart. "Trouble"'s lilting melody and light-fingered instrumentation evoke a phantasmic carousel ride, kind of like Lauren Hoffman with a massive dose of psychosis thrown into the mix; the title track is downright frightening in its suicidally depressed lyrics, ghostly vocal arrangement (Germano's multi-layered vocals are simply brilliant here), and slivers of chiming, funereal electric guitars. "...A Psychopath" best sums up the album...a journey into the mind of Germano's main character, a repressed, depressed, and self-aware woman whose demons appear to be coming alive by virtue of suffocating presence.

There is no other sonic experience quite like this album. Not the heavy soundscapes of My Dying Bride, not the pots-and-pans experimentation of Miranda Sex Garden, and not the equally worthy and eccentric Shannon Wright. Geek the Girl is worth owning just for its unique personality."
A very unusual, but excellent, concept album
woburnmusicfan | Woburn, MA United States | 05/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"On "Geek the Girl", Lisa Germano has taken her beautiful but pessimistic music and created a concept album about a passive slacker waif who participates so little in her own life that she's a doormat for all those around her. (Germano continued this persona on her next album, "Excerpts from a Love Circus", and I hope to God that she isn't actually like the girl she sings about.) It's a rare songwriting talent to be able to get the maximum information and nuance across to the listener using the fewest and simplest words possible. Germano keeps the words and music spare and simple, and by the end of the album, you know the depths of this character's soul. The music can't exactly be called rock--it's more like, um, alternative goth New Age. Germano plays most of the instruments herself (guitar, keyboards, violin, and more) and sings in a wispy voice that fits Geek's hapless character. She sets her "angry and dumb" alter-ego's bottom line on the title cut, with it's "Oh, oh, I'm not too cool" chorus. Following a breakup, on "Cry Wolf", she berates herself, "You should have known better/It's all your fault". By "Cancer of Everything", Geek is reduced to passive-aggressive psychosomaticism ("If I fall down in a place, it's cause I get attention"). But in between is one of the most chilling moments you're likely to hear on CD, "...a Psychopath", on which Geek's sing-song about an abusive boyfriend is backed by a 911 recording of a woman utterly terrified by a home intruder. Along the way, there's a repeated snippet of a ersatz Italian folk song, and a couple of instrumentals that fit the mood, with Germano playing minimalist violin to great effect. In the end, Geek remains hopeful despite it all. Is she persevering or just too dumb to know better? Germano suggests it's some of each. (By the way, I swear I once heard "Just Geek" as the soundtrack to a software company commercial, probably the prank of a disgruntled ad-man.)"
Brilliant, creepy, ominous
E. L. Green | San Jose, CA, United States | 08/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Very creepy and ominous, with Ms. Germano whispering disturbing lyrics over a dark background. I like the comparison to Nick Drake's _Pink Moon_... except that _Geek_ is much darker. I have been trying to find a bad or throwaway song on the album and not succeeding. Definitely *NOT* the album to put on the CD player when you want a romantic evening though."