Lisa Germano

Geek the Girl

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AllMusic Review by

With 1994's Geek the Girl, Lisa Germano found the perfect balance of her work's inherent contrasts. On songs like "My Secret Reason," soft, intricate arrangements surround her raw, whispery vocals and unflinching lyrics, making it even easier for them to get unsettlingly close to you. A largely autobiographical album about a girl's emotional and sexual coming of age, each of Geek the Girl's songs -- particularly the title track -- fairly tremble with awkward sadness and self-discovery. Shimmering, hesitant songs like "Trouble" sound like they might float off the album, but Germano's delivery of lyrics like "Little by little you touched my heart/ Where they had touched it too" gives them a delicate determination. Geek the Girl also braves the uglier possibilities of adolescent girlhood, whether it's rape ("Cry Wolf") or growing up too fast ("Sexy Little Girl Princess"). The album's centerpiece, "... A Psychopath," inspired by Germano's own experiences with a stalker, mixes excerpts of a 911 caller confronting an intruder, Germano's deadpan delivery of lyrics like "A baseball bat beside my bed/You win again/I am alone /And paralyzed" and brooding, scraping violins. Geek the Girl never feels whiny, thanks to Germano's abstract lyrics and the album's clever structure: snippets of whimsical Italian folk tunes bookend Geek the Girl's darkest, most intense moments, offering a tiny bit of comic relief. Similarly, "Cancer of Everything," a harshly funny cry for attention, borrows Happiness's ironic humor. Hypnotic instrumentals like "Phantom Love" and "Just Geek" also provide respites from the album's wrenching emotions, but songs like "...Of Love and Colors" and "Stars" end the album with something more important: hope. Geek the Girl's brave whispers hit on more emotional truths than the self-important screams of Germano's mid-'90s, women-in-rock contemporaries.

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