Call the Doctor

Call the Doctor is the second studio album by the American punk rock band Sleater-Kinney. It was released on March 25, 1996, by Chainsaw Records to critical acclaim.

Call the Doctor
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 25, 1996
RecordedSeptember 1995
StudioJohn and Stu's Place in Seattle, Washington
Sleater-Kinney chronology
Call the Doctor
Dig Me Out

Recording and releaseEdit

Call the Doctor was written in three weeks and recorded in four days.[1] According to singer and guitarist Corin Tucker, the writing was inspired by a "crap" job she had and how people are "consumerized and commodified" by society.[1] The album features no bass player. As Tucker explained, "We started writing songs with two guitars, and we liked the way it sounded. It gives us a lot of freedom to write these lines that go back and forth."[2] The album is occasionally considered to be Sleater-Kinney's first proper album because Tucker and co-vocalist and guitarist Carrie Brownstein had left their previous bands, Heavens to Betsy and Excuse 17, at the time of its recording.[3]

Call the Doctor was produced by John Goodmanson and released on March 25, 1996, by the queercore independent record label Chainsaw Records, which also released the band's previous album, Sleater-Kinney.[4] Drummer Laura MacFarlane, who was based in Australia, had to leave the band shortly after the album's release when her visa ran out. As a result, the band asked Toni Gogin of CeBe Barnes to fill in on the drums while touring the album.[5] As of March 1997, the album has sold 6,000 copies.[6] As of February 2015, Call the Doctor has sold 60,000 copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.[7]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [4]
Christgau's Consumer GuideA[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [9]
MusicHound Rock4.5/5[10]
The Philadelphia Inquirer    [11]
Rolling Stone     [13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [14]

Call the Doctor received acclaim from music journalists. Charles Taylor of The Boston Phoenix compared the album favorably to Heavens to Betsy's Calculated, stating that Call the Doctor "is in no way a mellowed piece of work. What makes it the fullest, most mature album any riot grrrl performer has produced isn't Tucker abandoning her anger (the idea that anger is incompatible with maturity is a facile one), but rather Tucker starting (reluctantly) to register the contingencies and compromises that her ideologically based rage is inadequate to confront".[17] Similarly, prominent music critic Robert Christgau praised the album's raucous energy, commenting: "Powered by riffs that seem unstoppable even though they're not very fast, riding melodies whose irresistibility renders them barely less harsh, Corin Tucker's enormous voice never struggles more inspirationally against the world outside than when it's facing down the dilemmas of the interpersonal—dilemmas neither eased nor defined by her gender preferences, dilemmas as bound up with family as they are with sex."[8]

AllMusic reviewer Jason Ankeny commented: "Forget the riot grrrl implications inherent in the trio's music — Call the Doctor is pure, undiluted punk, and it's brilliant".[4] Johnny Huston, writing for Spin, remarked that Call the Doctor "trades sex-worker role-playing, doll parts, gender-bending, and other common female-rock tropes for stories of everyday struggle [...] Sleater-Kinney proves that punk still offers new ways to say no".[16] The album appeared at number three in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll for 1996.[18] In 2010, Call the Doctor was ranked number 49 in the list of the 100 greatest albums of the nineties by the editors of Rolling Stone.[19]

Track listingEdit

All music is composed by Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker.

1."Call the Doctor"2:30
3."Little Mouth"1:44
5."Stay Where You Are"2:24
6."Good Things"3:10
7."I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone"2:37
8."Taking Me Home"2:35
9."Taste Test"3:00
10."My Stuff"2:33
11."I'm Not Waiting"2:21
12."Heart Attack"2:12
Total length:30:04


Credits are adapted from Call the Doctor's album notes.[20]

Macfarlane was incorrectly credited with vocals on "Taking Me Home" (she actually sang on "Taste Test").


  1. ^ a b Inoue, Todd S. (March 21, 1996). "Portland's Sleater-Kinney is maniacally vulnerable". Metro. Metro Newspapers. Archived from the original on January 13, 1997. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  2. ^ Morris, Chris (March 30, 1996). "Declarations of Independents". Billboard. Vol. 108, no. 13. p. 112. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  3. ^ Corcoran, Clifford J. "Sleater-Kinney". Trouser Press. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Ankeny, Jason. "Call the Doctor – Sleater-Kinney". AllMusic. Archived from the original on February 26, 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  5. ^ Lindsay, Cam (January 22, 2015). "The Drama You've Been Craving". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on January 24, 2015. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  6. ^ Cromelin, Richard (March 16, 1997). "An All-Grrrl Band at Heart". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  7. ^ "Unfinished Business". NPR. February 3, 2015. Archived from the original on July 27, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (October 2000). "Sleater-Kinney: Call the Doctor". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0312245603. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (September 2007). "Sleater-Kinney". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1846098567.
  10. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel, eds. (January 1998). "Sleater-Kinney". MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Schirmer Books. p. 1031. ISBN 978-1578590612.
  11. ^ Warren, Bruce (April 28, 1996). "Sleater-Kinney: Call the Doctor (Chainsaw Records)". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  12. ^ Pelly, Jenn (October 24, 2014). "Sleater-Kinney: Start Together". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  13. ^ Ali, Lorraine (June 13, 1996). "Call the Doctor". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 2, 2007. Retrieved October 2, 2007.
  14. ^ Chonin, Neva (November 2004). "Sleater-Kinney". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Fireside Books. pp. 742–743. ISBN 978-0743201698. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  15. ^ "Sleater-Kinney: Sleater-Kinney and Call the Doctor". Select. No. 97. July 1998. p. 82.
  16. ^ a b Huston, Johnny (March 1996). "Sleater-Kinney: Call the Doctor". Spin. Vol. 11, no. 12. pp. 110–111. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  17. ^ Taylor, Charles (April 11, 1996). "Sleater-Kinney rise from Heaven to Betsy's ashes". The Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on February 1, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  18. ^ "The 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. February 25, 1997. Archived from the original on August 15, 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  19. ^ "The 100 Greatest Albums of the '90s". The '90s: The Inside Stories from the Decade That Rocked. Harper Design. October 2017. pp. 282–297. ISBN 978-0061779206. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  20. ^ Call the Doctor (CD booklet). Sleater-Kinney. Portland, Oregon: Chainsaw Records. 1996. CHSW #13.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)

External linksEdit