Showing posts with label karly driftwood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label karly driftwood. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2019

video review: 'too mean to die' by karly driftwood

And here we go - way too late to the punch with this one, but I'm glad to cover it.

Now the good news is that I've got the next week off to work on reviews and get ahead of things, so Resonators, the Trailing Edge, a bunch of reviews, and the midyear video are on their way. So yeah, stay tuned!

album review: 'too mean to die' by karly driftwood

So I'm going to start this review on a tangent that could be considered political - you've been warned - and it focuses around a musician's personal life outside of the music, namely the reality that the vast majority of them can't afford to make a living off of music alone. Sure, you get a scattered few who are marketing masterminds and who can position their web presence in a way to collect more than you'd ever believe, but that's not the norm, especially for indie acts who are just starting to build their buzz. And work/life balance is a thing as you want to find time to write and produce and play gigs but also pick up shifts however you can, and sometimes that can lead you to rough territory, sometimes stuff that to appeal to a wider audience might be a little transgressive to put in your lyrics, especially if you're a woman and especially if it's tied to sex and sex work. Especially in American society, if you write about that stuff it's considered uncouth, you're risking backlash.

And I'm here to say that's absolute bullshit. Yeah, Cardi B stripped before she started making music - who cares? I can respect genuine talent, stage presence, and rapping skill that she has, and if she wants to talk about her experiences, that's fine by me. In fact, I'll go one further: beyond the fact that I believe sex work should be actively decriminalized and destigmatized, the fact that a certain subset of hip-hop fans want to marginalize her because of that past and the fact she talks about it is bullshit - after what you've let fly by in all sets of hip-hop, especially towards women, suddenly this is where you develop a moral standard? But let's keep in mind that hip-hop has at least been priming the pump to have that conversation - what other genres of music have gone there? 

Well, R&B... to a point, and of course it's shown up in the riot grrl side of punk, but how about country? Well, you could have a lengthy conversation surrounding how a predominantly conservative genre has dealt with sex - normally by sliding it into subtext or getting coy about it, and a lot of women have gotten really creative in how they've sidestepped moral censors - or your name is Bobbie Gentry and you write songs like 'Fancy' that are decades ahead of their time. Maybe it's a bit more explicit in the indie scene with acts like Lydia Loveless, but never that far if you're looking to cross over or get to a bigger label - until now. Meet Karly Driftwood, where with songs titled 'Stripped My Way To Nashville' are looking to provoke a reaction, yank the content conversation to a rougher, more transgressive and modern place where the sex and violence are allowed, and when you have a debut titled Too Mean To Die, you do grab an audience's attention. I'll admit it's been on my schedule for some time and I figured I might as well tackle it in full before the midyear, so what did Karly Driftwood deliver here?