With an aesthetic ripped straight from classic MTV and a warm rock and roll sound, Bait Bag, holds our hand through a subject rarely addressed in popular music in their ‘Tear Me In Two’ music video. The setting of an overgrown abandoned building — a favorite of rock groups everywhere — serves as a symbol of the fact that within the pre-existing structure of music and of society as a whole there is little space carved out to process the impact of pregnancy & childbirth. On a very visceral and honest level frontwoman Courtney Naliboff expresses the discomfort and sacrifice of bodily autonomy in the first person — a rarity even amongst songs that deal with the subject at all — contrasted by a chorus expressing the deep love and understanding between a mother and her unborn child. So often in the discourse surrounding pregnancy, the pregnant person is treated as a passive party who simply pushes the kid out and goes back to normal, completely erasing the immensity of the experience.
Bait Bag, named after lobster fishing gear, distinctly takes on regional flavor with a tone planted firmly in classic rock and roll with nods to punk and a knowing wink at the riot grrrl movement. They bring their message to us in ways comfortable and familiar with throwback elements while breaking ground taking on subject matter that I’m frankly amazed is still bold in 2019 — simply put, they confidently humanize women as normal people who have their own set of common experiences. While Bait Bag’s feminist message does not seek to alienate men, the band’s work isn’t for them. So rarely do we get the chance to see women represented in rock beyond a few extremely limited archetypes — all prepackaged and designed to appeal to the male gaze even while focusing on a female audience. Naliboff says of her work, “I love being a middle aged woman and a mother but man it feels so good to have catharsis about it.”
Watching this music video in which normal women reclaim space to address a uniquely feminine experience is certainly cathartic. Bait Bag’s work is a breath of fresh air in a very stale room and I am 100% here for it.