Calculated by Heavens to Betsy on AllMusic

Calculated

review

by Kurt Morris

Before her days in Sleater-Kinney, Corin Tucker was belting out screams with her riot grrrl duo, Heavens to Betsy. Along with drummer and bassist Tracy Sawyer, Tucker crafted 12 songs of pissed-off, bitter confusion. As with much material in the genre, the lyrics focus on failed relationships and the hurt feelings having emerged as a result. However, one glaring exception is the song "White Girl," which is a rare introspective look by someone in the indie scene addressing the audience directly about the topic of racism. The rest of the album benefits from a guitar-driven garage music that is paired up with the riot grrrl sound of the Northwest from the early '90s. Intensely fierce, even when the tempo slows down, Sawyer keeps the beats tight and Tucker is always brimming over with passion and the kind of power of which many bands in the hardcore scene aren't even capable. Not so much in an overtly masculine manner, but through intelligently refined viciousness transmitted via the appropriate musical spectrum. While Heavens to Betsy wasn't as well known as Bikini Kill or Bratmobile (largely due to their short career), it hardly means they didn't have the potential to stack up. That being said, Calculated should be included as essential listening for all fans of riot grrrl.