• Rump
  • Hating Brenda (Caroline) 1993 

One of the silliest culture micro-fads of the early ’90s was a self-consciously ridiculous obsession with hating Brenda Walsh, the baby bitch of the original Beverly Hills 90210. This particular whimsical animosity (which led to copycats taking potshots at Evan Dando and other pop stars) got a lot of mileage in 1993, thanks to Kerin Morataya and Darby Romeo, the visionary editors of influential Los Angeles zine Ben Is Dead, who gave free run to their pique, producing one nationally circulated (and widely publicized) issue of the deliciously evil I Hate Brenda Newsletter. The duo subsequently fed the same concept into a musical effort, producing this dubious bit of ephemera with a batch of their friends. Complete with a prudent, self-deflating manifesto (“…as the line between TV and reality disintegrates, we feel it necessary to admit that we hate Brenda only as much as one can hate a fictional television character”), Rump’s eight-song mini-album keeps a clear focus on the target of its surprisingly mild (at least until the long, unidentified epilogue to the final song) enmity: “Brenda Can’t Dance to This,” “Every Day Is Brenda Day,” “Who Is Brenda?,” “Dylan’s Choice.” But if the message is constant, the medium isn’t. Rump spreads its styles — techno-pop, power pop, deep dance dub, Chili funk, house, noisy skronk — all over the dial. Which blunts the conceptual impact, leaving this one for the time capsule, not the CD player.

[Ira Robbins]