Gretchen PhillipsWelcome to My World (Seasick Sailor)
It starts off innocuously enough, a simple drum-track beat and a tinkly synth melody to match. Yet as soon as Gretchen Phillips, local veteran of such venerable groups as Girls in the Nose, Two Nice Girls, and Lord Douglas Phillips, greets the listener with Welcome to My World
, it's clear this CD issue of GP's cassette-only first solo venture from 1994 has a mission. "I quit the band Two Nice Girls in order to ... [lay] down innocuous pop melodies and [put] spoken text of propaganda over the top of it," deadpans Phillips on opener "Treacly Brit Pop." The propaganda in question is a frank examination of being queer, running the gamut from philosophical and naughty to playful ("Who Would You Rather Have Sex With?"). While there's not much of interest here musically, it's the message that ultimately matters. Phillips is saying some really interesting things about sexuality of all stripes in a heartfelt, passionate way, unlike someone like Peaches, whose discussions of renegade or "other" sexuality lack personal conviction and therefore smack of gimmick. Not so with Phillips. The humor and pathos on Welcome to My World
really hit home, which one hopes will give folks some food for thought if they'll only sit still long enough to listen.