In quite a slow week for album releases, one album has really caught my attention. The lack of healthy competition is not a reflection on this album's quality. I only mention it because with a healthier pool of new offerings, it might have slipped my notice altogether and that would have been a crying shame. The album in question is Slugger by Sad13, the solo stage name of Sadie Dupuis from the band Speedy Ortiz.
The album, written during a time where Sadie Dupuis was dealing with the aftershocks of an abusive relationship, focuses on women and women's role in society. The tone of the music is jaunty and light-hearted, lyrically fast-paced with an acerbic wit. The album overall does give me a slight tinge of sadness though, mainly because we are having to have these conversations at all. For example, the issue of consent along with women's entitlement to be sexual beings is covered in the song Get A Yes. One of the less subtle tracks but one of the strongest messages. Should any woman in 2016 really be having to clarify the sentiments 'I only cross a line if I wanna' and 'If you want to you've gotta get a yes'?
Just A Friend and Hype talk about female friendships. The former disputing the idea that a genuine male/female friendship is a fictional construct. The idea of assuming sexual connotations in such a relationship is rejected, stating 'if you got a girl who's got a friend//then you should just believe//you've got a girl who's got a friend'. The latter speaks of the larger issue of female solidarity in friendships, how women should stick together and 'boost each other up' rather than 'catfight for the spotlight'.
Dupuis touches upon the nature of her abusive relationship in the tracks Devil In U and Tell U What. It's a funny thing but hearing someone sing 'You just throw me round like trash' and 'I'm not worth your violence' in such an upbeat fashion actually makes it more impactful. As Dupuis states, suffering abuse has the power to remove identity and instil fear-induced compliance. Perhaps rediscovering this quirky individuality through her music is an act of defiance that helps her reclaim a sense of self. Perhaps allowing abuse to break you means the other person has won. Whatever it is, there is a power in her jollity.
The delivery of the album is part Phoebe Buffay, part Sesame Street, wholly beautiful. By taking an almost whimsical approach, Sadie Dupuis has made her thoughts accessible without belittling their significance. If the problems of our society can't be magically fixed overnight then these are the messages that I would like my own daughter to learn about the world around her and how she should be interacting with people of both sexes.
Sad13 herself has stated that she wanted this album to be an antidote to songs like Christina Aguilera's Genie In A Bottle and these words can not be underestimated. It would be irresponsible of us as a society to allow another generation of young girls to grow up exclusively watching their female musical role models sing about finding validation through sexual objectification. Sad13's album has provided me with a conversation starter with my daughter. I'm sure I'm not the only man who could benefit from her words of wisdom. Am I the only one looking at Donald Trump?... We're all looking at him, aren't we?
Then again, I might be wrong. I am a Musical Moron, after all...
Lyric Of The Week
"Even supervillains plead insanity in love"
Krampus (In Love)
Sadie says we must
Be the change we wish to see
How damn right she is
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