Rock ’n’ Roll Diary Bif Naked Style

OLGA RAMAZ
El Vaquero Arts and Entertainment Edit

“Every song is a love song” according to Bif Naked, an artist who has steadily claimed fame with her energetic, pump-up-the-volume type music and her don’t need you attitude.

At first glance this Betty Paige-esque femme fatale comes off as a stand-offish performer covered in tattoos and filled with a good dose of rage. But once she takes the stage and grabs the microphone, her true persona shines: a performer covered in tattoos, filled with a good dose of rage and incredible ball-busting chops.

She was born in New Delhi, India to a pair of boarding school teenagers. Her move to Minneapolis came after she was adopted by American missionaries who moved around from city to city until finally settling in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the place where she would eventually tap into her musical talent.

Short stints in various bands would soon follow. After parting ways with her last band, Dying To Be Violent, Bif launched herself as a solo artist in 1994 with an EP titled “Four Songs and a Poem,” which was quickly followed with her self-titled debut album. A string of records would follow, ultimately giving way to unprecedented success and a solid fan base in various corners of the world.

“I don’t know how you guys live here,” she said jokingly to a crowd of eager fans at a November gig at the legendary Viper Room in Hollywood, which according to Bif is the “scary part of town.”
Armed with nothing but a microphone and an entourage
to man the drums, bass and guitar respectively, she took the stage like a bolt of lighting, crashing down and spitting out
“Yeah, You,” the fourth track off of her latest release, “Superbeautifulmonster.”

The crowd responded to her every move, bouncing back the energy radiating off of her gyrating body as she claimed the stage as her own personal playground.

The energy skyrocketed with “Let Down,” a lyrical manifestation and rant to her peers about her faulty nature. With lyrics like “Can’t get my mother off my back/she don’t have far to go to drive me crazy/someday that bitch is gonna make me crack/might be the last time she calls me lazy” can just about strike a nerve with anybody and lends itself to becoming a sort of an anthem for the so-called black sheep.

The intimacy of the show called for some interaction with the crowd. In between songs, Bif initiated random conversations with the audience, telling stories and sharing mishaps from life on the road. The cozy atmosphere of the Viper Room and the warmth of breathing bodies almost initiated an impromptu meet and greet. “I’ll start. My name is Bif, I live in Vancouver.” She then encouraged the audience to “get in touch with their chakras” as they stood there taking in the excitement of the show.

The set list predominantly consisted of tracks off the new album, playlist that reads very much like a diary.

The creation of this latest record spanned about three years. During this time, Bif managed to muster up well over 50 songs, 35 of which were actually recorded. In the end, 13 tracks managed to make it on to the final recording. Songs influenced by her struggles, Bif opens up and exposes her vulnerability with an array of sounds borrowed from such genres as metal, alternative and pop.

The range of her voice has no limits, abilities which shine through on this latest effort. When she is not spitting out lyrics straight from the pit of her stomach, she is merely whispering vocals as if lulling the listener into the realm of Samadhi, the practice of complete meditation, which Bif herself seems to practice and encourages.

Musically, the album is very well balanced, giving the listener a taste of both the hard-hitting tunes, the power ballad type songs and the pop infused tracks.

Falling into the category of the power ballad type songs are; “Abandonment,” “Henry” and the beautifully written, “Everyday.”
In “Everyday,” Bif’s voice of experience speaks, giving words to the wise with lyrics like “Soak every emotion that you never thought you’d live/And never take for granted every breath you’re breathing in.” Accompanied by an acoustic and a string ensemble, this song stands out not only for its lyrics, but for the way the magnetism of each instrument carries out the sweet and hopeful aura of the song.

“The World is Over” and “That’s Life” are the two lone pop songs on the album guaranteed to stick on the listener like a wad of gum.
The oh-so-catchy lyrics of “That’s Life” make it very easy and rather enjoyable to sing along to. The chorus itself draws some attention with its lyrics; “That’s life with me/I know around and around you will go/But, if I French-Kiss you in the broad daylight, you’ll fall in love, oh, oh, oh.”

For some reason this song in particular begs to be linked with a “Gilmore Girls” type sitcom and Avril Lavigne. Minus the “Gilmore Girls” parallel, it’s possible that this association just stems from the whole Canadian rocker chick vibe.

Certainly the hard-hitting tunes outweigh the rest. “Funeral of a Good Grrl,” “Lady Bug Waltz” and “The Question Song,” among others, are the songs meant to be played out loud.

“The Question Song” holds true to its title because it does just that, questions what seems like an unsuspecting ex. “Tell me, how do you sleep?/In your bed of true deceit/Are you hungry, hungry for me?/Or is it just conditioning?”

But without a doubt the biggest treat on this album is Bif’s unexpected cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.”

No one messes with Metallica — just ask Shawn Fanning. For Bif to take a very well-known Metallica song and make it all her own is definitely worthy of some major props. A very appropriate song, fitting in this diary-like album, beautifully showcases the various ranges of her voice which fluctuate with every note.
Lets take a minute and dare to dream what the “Black Album” would sound like if instead of James Hetfield manning the post on vocals, Bif took the reigns and added a zest of chick. Male Metallica fans and perhaps even a disgruntled Lars Ulrich would be all up in arms, but what a feat that would be.

This album has all the elements it needs to be massively accepted, be that by loyal fans and media from all corners of the world. An epic recording from start to finish, the consistency among the tracks make every tune melt into one another, carrying on the concept of an auditory diary ever so well.

Now, if only radio
would tap into “Superbeautiful-monster.” It would certainly be a much needed change from what is currently infesting the air-waves.
She is the total package; looks, attitude, talent and fist-full of guts, and her album is no exception to these either.

Dive into this album head first, and as Bif said, “may you be absorbed in Samadhi.”