120 Reasons To Live: L7

Nothing did more to further the cause of Alternative Nation-building than 120 Minutes, MTV’s Sunday-night video showcase of non-mainstream acts. For nearly two decades, the program spanned musical eras from ’80s college rock to ’00s indie, with grunge, Britpop, punk, industrial, electronica and more in between. MAGNET raids the vaults to resurrect our 120 favorite and unjustly forgotten videos from the show’s classic era.

#60: L7 “Pretend We’re Dead”

Not that anyone has complained (yet), but at the halfway mark of 120 Reasons To Live, a vast minority of the posts have featured female artists or female-fronted bands. To which we respond: Can we interest you in a leaflet titled Famous Jewish Sports Legends? The program’s playlists offer slim pickings in terms of women alt-rockers, even as the ’90s begat riot grrl (perhaps too underground for TV music videos) and Lilith Fair (too tame-sounding for the grunge years). That said, the choice of grunge girls L7 isn’t tokenism. That guitar riff is fatter than Chris Christie. Even if 1992’s “Pretend We’re Dead” has dumb lyrics, they’re no dumber than anything Soundgarden ever did. L7 went down in infamy later in the year at the Reading Festival, when singer Donita Sparks threw her used tampon into the crowd.

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