Metal music, and rock music in general, is very much a scene dominated by men. If you plug “famous metal bands” into a search engine, you’ll find yourself among a sea of bands with a man filling every role. Even if you check Spotify playlists made for metalheads, you’ll find there are separate playlists just for bands with women, excluded from the more listened-to compilations. From Iron Maiden to Tool to Dream Theater to Bring Me The Horizon–even among the more recent modern metal bands like Oceans Ate Alaska, Lorna Shore, and I Prevail–men command the spotlight. With that said, don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of plenty of these bands to be sure, but it’s historically been more difficult to find bands that represent a different demographic. However, in the last few years, women-fronted bands are taking it back with metal and metal-adjacent bangers. Scene Queen is one such artist leaping onto the charts with her unique sound, landing on YouTube reactions, covers, and a growing social media presence.
Hannah Collins, the 25-year-old Hopeless Records artist better known as Scene Queen, is taking TikTok by storm with her girly metal- and pop-influenced tracks. She describes her genre and titular 2022 debut EP as bimbocore, a play on the blonde bimbo stereotype and the trend of heavier music genres ending in the “-core” suffix. Collins writes about her experiences facing misogyny, musical elitism, trauma, and harassment, all while calling for feminine empowerment.
The opening track off the Bimbocore EP, “Bring It On,” alludes to pop icons like Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, as well as fellow metal and pop genre-bender Poppy, before a brutal guitar breakdown. “They hate that I’m heavy / I’m thriving, can’t stop me / These boys, they just copy,” yells the queen with distorted vocals. Collins has faced hate for her hyperfeminine metal style and was excited to make her opening track one of the album’s most aggressive.
Following up is “Pretty in Pink,” taking a vulnerable switch into lyrics about struggling with an eating disorder and difficulties with self-image brought on by pressure from the music industry. The tune begins with “Sorry daddy, sorry mom / I am way too far gone / Swallowed pills, I’m off the walls / You can’t save me” to the melody of the nursery rhyme “London Bridge is Falling Down.” The music video features Collins using a pink feather boa, a staple of her aesthetic and live performances, as a noose while donning a tiara and pastel pink dress before being groped by disembodied gloved hands. Visual imagery continues with the usage of pink to cover up trauma and emotional carousels.
“Pink Bubblegum,” the third track, is explicit in its readiness to break down the barriers of misogyny in music. In the video for its single release, Collins and her group of pink ski mask-wearing, gum-chewing babes charge into the office of an executive at Hopeless. His wall holds framed records and posters from Hopeless acts including All Time Low, Taking Back Sunday, The Used, Avenged Sevenfold, and the Wonder Years. You guessed it–they’re all men–and Scene Queen has arrived to plaster her name on top. “I’m the drama queen so I keep abusing / All these cliches everybody else uses / Do it for the spite, so I keep on chewing / And make them all talk / Bubblegum when I pop off,” she sings, detailing how she embraces pink femininity while turning it on its head with chopped vocals and drop-tuned guitars.
“Pink Panther,” the last of the singles released prior to the EP’s complete launch, is a not-so-subtle innuendo about WLW relationships. This track and its accompanying music video do not shy away from playful references to sexuality, combining a more mature synonym for cat with Scene Queen’s signature color and nods to the original Pink Panther cartoon. As a bit of trivia, this track initially ripped a saxophone riff from the actual Pink Panther theme, a decision that nearly led to legal threats before Collins and her team promptly rearranged it. Collins sums up her vision in the pinned comment of the music video as the following:
Hello friends! This video was directed, shot, edited, and styled by a female lead team. It’s shot for the female gaze. And with my added sense of humor in mind. The music industry loves to market women as sexy but seems to target that sexiness towards appealing towards men a large portion of the time. I feel like men are catered to way too often so this video is not for them. (However they are 100% welcome to watch and enjoy) Having multiple women on this set adding in their ideas of what’s hyper feminine and what is sexy was truly a pleasure to be part of. Thanks to the entire crew for making this happen💖 Also yeah this music video is a little 🌈💅🏻😏 felt like if I was ever gonna let people know I’m bi might as well make it theatrical
Similar to “Pink Bubblegum,” the video for “Pink Panther” centers around Scene Queen and her close “gal pals.” It’s no mystery when she wraps up the second verse with “I be getting box, yeah, I’m that bimbo,” after the crew sneaks into a house and heads for the shower decked out with pink cat paw stickers. And it’s definitely no litter box. With this fourth song in the tracklist, Collins adds the LGBTQ+ community to her highlight of underrepresented groups in metal.
“Pink Rover” blew up with its introduction of the Bimbo Beta Pi Sorority. Bimbo Beta Pi’s festivities that take place in this track’s music video include inviting catcalling boys to a sorority party, tying them up, and breaking out the ouija board for “just girly things.” The overall favorite section that many TikTok users ran with, somewhat to Scene Queen’s surprise, is “Pink Rover, Pink Rover / Please send the coward over / And if that bastard whistles / Put a knife up to his boner.” The sisters of Bimbo Beta Pi fight back against harassment and objectification of women by pervy guys. Additionally, when Scene Queen performs this number live, she invites attendees in the crowd on stage and inducts them into the sorority. The only commitment as a delegate of BBπ is to make friends with anyone at Scene Queen shows or wearing SQ merch, a task inspired by Collins’s experiences going to concerts alone in high school.
The conclusion of the record, “Pink Paper,” alternates between simple electronic beats and speedy double kick drums. Confidence and celebration of success embody this final track. The first verse tackles statistically surpassing bands fronted by men yet getting pushed to the side in concert lineups. “Opening for bands that my numbers say I’m better than / Money in my hands, make it rain like the weatherman,” she continues. “Pink Paper” is about having fun as an icon making music and rolling in the dough as her efforts pay off.
As a whole, Bimbocore is a big middle finger to creeps, bigots, and elitists. It calls for girls to take back their sexualities and feel empowered and be unabashedly feminine. Despite being called an industry plant, snubbed for her lyrics, and looked down upon by uptight metalheads, Collins keeps kicking down doors with a glittery pink baseball bat in hand. No one’s doing it quite like this sure-fire standout in the alternative music crowd. Whether you’re looking to drive around with the windows down, twerk in the circle pit, or scream all through hot girl summer, Scene Queen has a tune for you.
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