Written in collaboration by Maggie McHale and Mitch Mosk
One word has been repeated over and over again in the run-up to Emily Blue’s debut: Strength. Strength to break her silence and tell her story; strength to stand up to rape culture and gender-based violence; strength to elevate her female voice.
Listen: Another Angry Woman – Emily Blue
To be a woman is to live in a constant cycle of what-ifs. What if I’m not good enough? What if I walk down the street by myself, or go out without my friends? There is an innate unfairness associated with womanhood; the female experience is incessantly minimized and mocked. Women are constantly demeaned and devalued, while simultaneously being expected to live up to a plethora of societal standards.
This experience does not only affect women, however: the stifling patriarchal society in which we live ultimately takes its toll on men, too. Being told to “man up” is equated with being strong and being worthy of society’s standards, but is a definitively toxic mindset to have. Feminism is a ubiquitous issue, and needs to be addressed as such.
With her debut album, Emily Blue successfully addresses the importance of feminism for everyone. The album’s title, Another Angry Woman, is even a tongue-in-cheek ruse at society’s idea that all feminists are always automatically aggressive. This record is a symbol for true feminist ideals, and aims to show that the pervasiveness of feminism is in fact permeating within society — whether or not it is actually ever truly acknowledged as such.
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Emily Blue’s Another Angry Woman, out 11/4/2016 (purchase here). Another Angry Woman is an important and enticing statement about our modern world. Each song drips with an astute narratology that gives Blue the chance to explore and tackle her own experiences, while simultaneously showing the true ubiquity of her experiences. We are all victims of the patriarchy, whether we openly admit it or not. Emily Blue and Another Angry Woman aims to give a voice to those who might feel voiceless; it is a soundtrack for us all.
All profits from Emily Blue’s Another Angry Woman go towards funding R.A.C.E.S (Rape Advocacy, Counseling and Education Services), a rape crisis hotline in Blue’s Illinois community Champaign-Urbana that was recently defunded. (The organization’s webpage currently states: Due to the recent state budget impasse, our current services are limited to the 24-hour crisis hotline and medical advocacy. The agency is beginning to rebuild and will soon restore all services.) Experience Another Angry Woman via our stream, and peek inside Emily Blue’s debut album with Atwood Magazine below as the artist provides her personal take on her songs.
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Watch: “No Pain” – Emily Blue
:: Another Angry Woman ::
Your Heartbeat Is
“Your Heartbeat Is” is not my usual creation. Instead of sticking to a traditional pop song structure, I used repetition to create the specific feeling of anxiety. The lyrics are intended to describe the constant, growing fear while walking alone at night as a woman. I looped my vocals and continued to add layers until they reach their fuller, more chaotic point. I am truthfully so excited about this song– I tried some different production styles, played with wacky pedals, and pushed myself creatively. To me, the lyrics feel strong through the fear, instead of weak or hesitant– they continue to repeat over and over, driving the song, and I believe this represents my determination to keep moving forward.
“Anastasia” is a conversation with Anastasia about inhabiting the world in a female body.
“Sidewalk Devil” touches on similar themes as the first track, but goes more into how this anxiety affects my personal relationships (especially with male romantic partners). My goal was to point toward the differences in daily experiences for men and women using my own life as inspiration. I discuss instances of street harassment, sexual violence, and other painful memories in the lyrics, with the hope that this song helps others to empathize with any marginalized person’s daily threats. “He don’t know how the devil comes, right out under the midday sun, how he hungers for a way to take control” would probably be the most important lyric from the song.
“No Pain” is the album’s survivor anthem. It contains more anger and emotion than some of the other songs, and is a little more direct. I want this song to point a finger at all perpetrators of sexual violence, and at the judicial system that excuses their actions. There is such a lack of empathy for survivors in our culture, and my goal with this (and the video) is to foster an environment of radical empathy. We need to listen to survivors and their stories.
“Gene” talks about gender-bending, femininity, and strong women role models.
“Boys” takes the common phrase “boys will be boys” and criticizes it heavily. I view this phrase as a micro-example of how male violence is excused on a broader, cultural scale. In a world where Brock Turner can get away with rape with essentially no consequence, and a repeatedly accused rapist can be the presidential nominee, it is extremely important to find the source of the issue. This song was very painful for me to write because I draw specific details of sexual violence from my own memories, but it also needed to be said.
“Christine” talks about the joy of breaking rules.
“Lavender” is a more uplifting piece, pleasant, and dreamy. It contrasts heavily from some of the darker content on my record, leaving the album on a positive note. The lyrics talk about the women in my life, mentioning my mother and community. I wanted to make the point that even though being a woman is hard, it is also extremely rewarding. I am so happy to be alive, and to be alive as a woman in this world. “Look beneath the bruises, a fruit is still sweet under its skin” is one of the song’s lines, and it is just my way to say, hey, I’m still grateful for who I am.
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cover photo: Emily Blue © 2016