In Rear-View: No Holiday by The Muffs

I’ve wanted to write something about Kim Shattuck ever since we all received the devastating news about her passing. But truth be told, I couldn’t bring myself to do it right away, cos it still

I’ve wanted to write something about Kim Shattuck ever since we all received the devastating news about her passing. But truth be told, I couldn’t bring myself to do it right away, cos it still hurt too much. Over the past month, I have slowly digested articles about her struggle with ALS and how she worked so hard and selflessly to see No Holiday through to its completion. As badly as I wanted to listen to The Muffs new album, I knew that I would never be able to hear it again for the first time so I avoided it.

However, this past weekend was Thanksgiving and it was my first holiday after making some serious life changes. Since my favorite time to jam to The Muffs as a kid was when I was feeling all angsty, I decided to dive head first into No Holiday while feeling this way as an adult.

This album was Shattuck’s way of saying, “so long and thanks for all of the fish” after her diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease. It starts with “That’s For Me” and it is instantly recognizable as The Muffs. At only 38 seconds, the song immediately sets the tone for the remaining tracks and the tears were already streaming down my face.

“Down, Down Down” follows and it one of my favorites on the album. This is one of the only songs where we get Kim’s primal yell, completely understandable given the circumstances at the end. Ronnie Barnett on bass and Roy McDonald on drums chime in and prove that musical chemistry continues regardless of the circumstance.

So the song that made me ugly cry the hardest probably had to be “Lovely Day Boo Hoo.” Now knowing her struggle to talk and communicate during the final stages of recording makes this track even more special for me. Her vocals crack here and there and they aren’t nearly as powerful as previous albums, but you can still hear the determination in her gut. This ballad is beautiful and it is a perfect testament to the vibrant person that she still was inside.

I could listen to “Lucky Charm” on repeat for the rest of my life and be totally fine with it. Kim’s bratty voice and snide cadence ring true in this one. It brings some pop punk flavor to the album and will have you singing along by the end.

No Holiday ends with a simple recording of an acoustic guitar, an organ, and Kim’s sweet voice contemplating the boundaries of the “Sky.” She had to have known that her own end was imminent and you have to wonder if this is how she dealt with it. “Now I’m looking at the sky and I wonder how far it goes. It goes for miles.”

I am forever grateful to Kim Shattuck and The Muffs for the music that they have given me. It’s so hard to say goodbye to a hero that I’ve never met before, but I would not be the adult that I am today without her songs. When I was a teenager, Kim taught me how to be a badass and to do my own thing at a time in my life when I needed it the most. Huh…. I guess she’s still doing that 20 years later. My friend, Shelby, said it best, “Not only was she a goddamn amazing singer, she was a fucking amazing woman who loved music as much as we do. More actually. More than we ever could.”

We love you, Kim, and as much as we hated losing you, we get it. Go away and be strange.

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