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It’s fitting that we describe arriving at adolescence as “hitting” puberty, since the overload of hormones, growth spurts, and emotional havoc can come as more of a crash than a gentle transition. High school health class might give you a new vocabulary for what’s going on, but the scientific jargon rarely prepares you for reality. “Broken Glass,” the first track on Governess’s upcoming self-titled tape, aims to fight back.
The music of Governess is drone-y and surfy, reverb-laden and harmony-heavy and surprisingly bouncy. “Broken Glass” gains a sense of urgency from the tight collaboration between bassist Kieca Mahoney and drummer Erin McCarley, and is carried by power-pop guitar of Kim Weeks. The song was originally inspired, McCarley says, by Mahoney’s mistaken childhood belief that “a test tube baby was one you grew in a flask and broke open when it was ready.” (She says Mahoney was quite disappointed when she realized that wasn’t the case.) The lyrics—delivered with deadpan harmonies from Weeks and McCarley—then go on to tackle other disappointments that come with the transition to adulthood (“When hormones waged a bloody war / Passing notes, hallway fights, call waiting on long nights”).
The song also addresses band’s frustration with the cult of science—especially for its gendered implications. “In the song we are exploring the masculine paradigm of the rightness of science, which tells us that this is the only way to think, to reason,” McCarley says. “Science has become a kind of a religion… in the modern era, and it sharpens edges and empowers even more of the have/have-nots separation. If you believe in science, you’re smart, educated. If you don’t and/or if you’re not exposed to it, you’re stupid and/or poor. This is a male way of defining the world.”
McCarley says the title has two meanings. It’s meant as a way to “shatter the clinging to science as the only way,” and an acknowledgement of a hard truth women face: “No matter what ‘glass ceilings’ any woman ever breaks through, she’s still worried about getting pregnant and having her life changed forever.”