To celebrate their European tour with Babes in Toyland, we asked Skating Polly's Kelli Mayo to list her top five favourite Babes in Toyland tracks. Beautiful stuff all around.

  • May Tour Dates:
  • 24 Bristol Trinity Centre
  • 25 Southampton Engine Rooms
  • 26 London O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
  • 27 Manchester Gorilla
  • 28 Glasgow Oran Mor

'Sweet 69'

The drums are catchy, bass is catchy, guitar is catchy, and vocals are CATCHY DAMMIT! This song made me get a cowbell, and watching a video of it played live made me want to get two more. Yeah, that's right, Lori Barbero has three cowbells and in this song she uses them to make a melody. I mean, have you ever heard drums so melodic and thrashing? It was life changing for me to hear Lori pound away on this song because she doesn't just keep a beat, she has drum parts that are just as essential to the song as the guitar and bass.

The bass and guitar tones on this song are flat out menacing. I love the way they rattle and blend together. When it all kicks in it's as if you can feel bodies in a crowd slamming into each other. There's so much attitude in the vocals. Kat can go from a face kicking growl to a sweet falsetto to chilling perfectly hit high notes to screams that don't even need lyrics to convey emotions clearly. This is one of the best songs ever written. I mean, it's beyond punk rock and can still be danced to.


'Won't Tell'

I found this song listening to the album Fontanelle on shuffle on my MP3 player at a fancy lunch my step mom was having with colleagues. You can't get any better than Babes in Toyland, especially if you're looking for punk rock. And I knew that at the time so I blasted that album full volume into my head phones and then 'Won't Tell' came on and I zoned into all the beautiful dynamics and catchy verses and was blown away by every second of it, so I played it again, and again, and again, and again until the fancy business lunch was over and we were back in the car. At that point I plugged it into our aux cable and played it for my step mom over and over again. I didn't just like the quiet parts I drooled over Kat's screams on it. But I think it was the lyrics that made me listen to it so many times. I learned them fast and could sing along/ scream along. It be came the number one song for me to lip sync into my mirror along with dorky bed dance-jumping.


'Bruise Violet'

Like lots of people I'm sure, this song was the first Babes in Toyland song I ever heard. Well, "heard" wouldn't be the right term. I'm not sure the first time I heard Babes in Toyland because my family's played them since before I can remember. But when I was old enough to start learning song titles and recognize bands, 'Bruise Violet' became the first Babes in Toyland song I knew by name and really appreciated. I assumed the vocals were done by two different people for the quiet and loud parts. I thought it was simply the most powerful punk rock song I'd ever heard. There's nothing like it. I didn't like a lot of punk music back then because I was really drawn to melody, but Babes in Toyland, along with Nirvana and a few songs from Sex Pistols, Daisy Chainsaw, and Bikini Kill changed that all for me.

This song in particular proved even the scariest, toughest, loudest punk music came be extremely melodic. I've heard this song so many times. I used to play it for people on my bus in 4th grade and it would scare them. I didn't understand how they could like the Regina Spektor I played but not Babes in Toyland. But I liked that it freaked people out. It made me feel powerful that I understood and appreciated this insane satanic music that was played by GIRLS! And through 4th and 5th grade I was finding all these loud girl bands (which I thought were all riot grrrl bands) but something was different about Babes in Toyland and something about this song made it the anthem of my life for years. And the music video was everything I could ever dream of a music video being. They looked SO COOL! And they were all beautiful but at the same time you'd have to be an idiot to fuck with them. They weren't good for girls, they were actually a lot better songwriters than a lot of the punk music I listen to made by guys. This song made me understand loud music.


'Hello'

Maureen's bass playing kinda steals the show in this song. It's a great foundation for the rest of the song and it's what ties the whole thing together. The drums sound so booming. It's hard not to sway back and forth. Kat's guitar part dropping in and out is just brilliant, weird beautiful eerie plucks. This song is one I'd put on my ear booming and bedtime playlists. The song has sweet spacey verses followed by Kat's vocals on the choruses teetering between singing and screaming accompanied by simple but perfect back up vocals. It's a perfect start to Nemesisters.


'Big Top'

This gritty jangly skipping song is the most recent Babes in Toyland song I've discovered. I love that Kat and Lori both do vocals on it. The vocals throughout most of the song are doubled in a way that keeps the hair standing on your arms. I think it's one of the weirdest songs I've ever heard. All the tracks blend together so you can't tell what's going on in the song other than pure sinister. I love the guitar and bass tones the effect on them is completely original. This demented circus song is a total jam and a different side of the Babes.