It was meant to be a delicious comeback for the transgressive girl whose defiant 1977 single, “Oh Bondage! Up Yours!” fired up Afro-Punk, riot grrrl, and every punk worth their peroxide.
Instead, the return of Poly Styrene became one of pop’s most poignant ironies. Generation Indigo—a bubbly, cuddly, insightful record, her first in seven years—was released on the day her death was announced last week.
The loss of 53-year-old Poly Styrene six months after the death of 48-year-old Ari-Up, the dreadlocked singer-songwriter of the Slits, is a reminder: how few were those brave women who shattered all pre-existing models during U.K. punk’s first wave.
This ragtag crew was the first self-determined generation of women musicians, and their influence is incalculable; today, their giddy progeny have stormed the malls with their camouflage, neon fishnets, and combat boots worn with gowns. And while their sounds may resonate differently, today’s alpha women—Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Pink—still ride the whirlwind of independent female energy that shook mid-1970s London.
A nice article, but I didn’t know she’d died. About to cry now.