Thirty years ago, in the summer of 1988, Voice of the Beehive released the album Let It Bee. The band is best known as a showcase for sisters Tracey Bryn and Melissa Brooke Belland, transplants from California who settled in London in part because they felt the U.K. music scene would be more amenable to the breezy, buoyant pop music they wanted to create. After the toe-dip of a couple singles, Voice of Beehive delivered their debut full-length, punnily swiping its title from the Beatles.
If the music was touched by vintage girl group sunshine, the lyrics often told a different story. Largely penned by Bryn, they exhibited a take-no-guff feminism and a bracing willingness to offer reportorial assessments of the indignities heaped upon women. Let It Bee includes a track titled “There’s a Barbarian in the Back of My Car,” which is about an accurately dismal an assessment of the male half of the specifies as exists on a pop record.
In its particulars, “Don’t Call My Baby” is fairly standard tale of romantic woe, with a caddish paramour deploying terms of affection to one woman while another is “waiting in the car.” But I’ve always heard the declaration of the title as broader, essentially declaring independence from any lousy dude who tried to diminish the singer in any way. It’s a revolt against sexism that happens to have a killer hook. That may not be the most accurate assessment when the track is given a literal reading, but I swear that’s the spirit that imbues it.
Listen or download —> Voice of the Beehive, “Don’t Call Me Baby”
(Disclaimer: It appears to me that the Voice of the Beehive catalog is out of print in the U.S., unavailable in a physical form that can be procured from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner than compensates both the original artists and the proprietor of said shop. This track is being shared in this space with that understanding. Also, I still believe in the legal concept of fair use and believe this qualifies. Even so, I know the rules. I will gladly and promptly remove this file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)