A novelist/feminist/aspiring music writer from the UK.
What are men doing to help women in the music industry?
It is clear, as you pass through the aisles of HMV, scroll through Spotify and look at festival posters that the music industry is a boys’ game. Across the 700 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 year-end charts from 2012-2018, men made up 78.3% of artists, 87.7% of songwriters and a staggering 97.9% of producers. Even for me, my ‘I’m a feminist but’ statement would be ‘I’m a feminist, but nine times out of ten, the music I listen to was made by exclusively white men’.
Album Review: Sum 41 - 'Order In Decline'
Put in the briefest terms, the seventh album from Canada's Sum 41 is a vision of a tense, angry and divided world, clearly in a sad state of affairs when it's evident that Deryck Whibley is, just as he was on 2002's 'Does This Look Infected?' still waiting for the world to stop hating. Aptly, accompanying such dark subject matter is the quartet's heaviest sound to date, closer in blood to the punkier vibes of Green Day and even the heavyweights of metal than to their pop punk upbringings, which serves as the backdrop to lyrics which venture into both personal and political territories. While the album never reaches the epic, rock opera-esque heights that early highlight 'Turning Away' promises, what Whibley and Co. do offer is solid and impressive nonetheless. Lead single 'Out For Blood' arrives sounding utterly thunderous - it's fast, it's punchy and full of the venom of which Deryck Whibley spits plenty across the record. Its blend of horror punk attitude and metallic guitar soloing will have the rock purists in particular sighing in relief, and admittedly, a guitar band that wants to remain a guitar band in 2019 may be quite nice to hear for some. However, while this slick new heaviness suits the band well and there is just enough variety to prevent tracks from blending into each other, the softer ballads on this record are certainly not to be underestimated. 'Never There' is one of the most personal songs the band has ever put to tape, being the only song written to date about Deryck Whibley's father, whom he has never met, which provides an intimate moment of respite from the raw angst of the tracks that come either side of it. Equally, closer 'Catching Fire' ends the album on a quieter, more pensive note as Whibley's personal feelings and the influence of the wider world combine as he ponders how life would be if he was in the position of the loved ones of those like Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington who we have lost to suicide in recent years. Elsewhere, it becomes interesting to note, when listening to this album, that the songs you hear were never intended to be overtly political. We get, in turn, a lyric book that reflects the mindset of a man going about his own life and dealing with his own thoughts while remaining tense and troubled as he looks at the world around him. While '45 (A Matter of Time)' stands apart in its directness, seeing the band attempt to start a Rock Against Trump movement all by themselves, it seems that on tracks like 'Heads Will Roll' it is unclear whose voice we are hearing - Whibley himself, or a Trumpian leader? - and if this was intended, it's certainly unique, and definitely clever. However, aside from the more personal ballads previously mentioned, most of the songs adopt the same formula of deriding the political climate and the hate it has produced, and it doesn't take long before the lyrics all seem to say the same thing and each song serves the same purpose. It makes sense why the album is only 10 tracks long - any more songs on the same subject would've simply made it feel bloated. 'Order In Decline' isn't exactly 'American Idiot' for the Trump era, but it was never intended to be, and it doesn't need to be. In spite of its flaws, this isn't a record to be written off, especially for the world-weary fans and rock lovers alike who will relate to the frustration and tenseness within these songs. This is a throwback to the grit and heaviness of the rock music that most of us fell in love with, with its own modern twist, and in that light, it is a success. 7/10
Album Review: Motionless In White - 'Disguise'
The Motionless In White we've been familiar with up until now has been a band known for looking outwards. Frontman Chris Motionless has crafted his lyrics mostly around his opinions on the society around him, and recent songs have seen him examine its treatment of the outsider, its attitudes towards sex, and the growing oversensitiveness of Internet culture, to name a few examples. This time around, however, his tune is changing. This time, he is looking inwards, immortalising the struggles of his recent personal battles with his constructed identity across the goth metallers' fifth opus.
In Defense of Modern Music
Sometimes, I imagine myself in another era, in some parallel universe where my birth certificate says "1975" instead of "2000." I see myself in a baggy green flannel shirt and jeans I ripped myself, doing the rounds of my local record shop. I imagine turning over the vinyls in my hands, talking to the person behind the counter, finding music through word of mouth and through music channels instead of on Spotify. I imagine a life where I see Kurt Cobain live on TV as a tangible, living, breathing person instead of a memory immortalised in a music video. It was a great time, so I'm told. The stars were daring, rebellious, and uncensored. They had integrity and originality. Sometimes this nostalgia is followed by some nose-wrinkling, some sighing, and comments along the lines of, "Shame it's not like that anymore. It all sounds the same nowadays. It's all so... safe."
Album Review: Bring Me the Horizon—'amo'
The ability to polarise is seen by some as the mark of great artistry. To divide an audience is tantamount to not giving a fuck, to not giving in to the temptation of pleasing people for the sake of mainstream kudos, to making people talk and debate for all the right reasons. Here's a challenge for you. Find a band who has done this more successfully than Bring Me The Horizon. This is a band who was kicked to the ground in their early deathcore days before rising to the top of the British rock arsenal, much to the dismay of the fans who believed they'd gotten there by selling out, when in fact they were producing their most critically acclaimed music to date. And in true Bring Me style, they're dividing the crowd all over again with their most recent release, perhaps more so than ever. Step forward, amo.
Things Feminists Want You to Know
I am a feminist. I hate men, I am offended by everything and anything, and I am disgusted by the thought of wearing pink/dresses/high heels/makeup/anything remotely feminine that the patriarchy forced on me. If you read that sentence and understood I was being sarcastic, from all feminists worldwide, thank you. You know your stuff. If you read that and didn't think I was being sarcastic, this article is for you. I hope I can change your mind. It gets tiring, trying to justify that yes, I'm not out to make female supremacy a thing, and yes, I'm allowed to shave my armpits and wear skirts. If I can make my life a little easier, and the lives of many other feminists a little easier, then I've succeeded.
A Love Letter to the CD
Technology often manages to fail us somehow. I remembered this fact not too long ago: Ahead of the release date of Palaye Royale's Boom Boom Room: Side B, which I'd been anticipating for months, I tried to change my iTunes payment details and the computer said no. A software update and a reinstallation of iTunes later, it still said no. No more downloads for you, Emma. That's what happens when you aren't rich enough to replace your computer every time something flashier comes out.
An Idiot's Guide to Emo
The messages society is giving us are changing. We're told to open up and talk about our feelings now, as opposed to the stiff upper lip mentality of before. We're told to break out of the man box, that it's okay for boys to cry now. In a time where everyone will probably know someone affected by mental illness (one in four of us will, to be precise), this change in tune is vital. But when you think about it, the mainstream is only just catching up with what alternative culture has known for decades.
Enjoy the Gig with Your Eyes and Ears
A couple of months ago, my boyfriend went to Reading Festival with his family. And although I wasn't there, I sort of got to be—no, he didn't freak out security by bringing another person along in his bag, but when he got back I got a lot of photos to curb my jealousy.
The Leaders of Rock's Next Generation
Every era of rock music breeds legends. There's always a certain few who carry the torch for their genres, whose music stands the test of time and inspires the next generation of musicians to come. Ten years ago, it was Paramore, Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance leading the charge. Five years ago, it was Black Veil Brides, Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens who had just blown up, bringing post-hardcore to a new generation of fans. But who is set to follow them?
In Defense of Bring Me the Horizon
Take a look at the comment section on anything related to Bring Me The Horizon on the internet, and you will find a fanbase at war. On one side is an army of fans who claim to be the "true fans" because they found the band while they were still making deathcore music. They want the world to know how disappointed they are that they sold out. They've gone soft. They make music for 13-year-old girls now (sexism, much?). On the other is a counter protest of fans who stand up for the band, who argue that there's nothing wrong with them changing their sound or aspiring to join rock's heavyweights in arenas, stadiums, or festival main stages.
What I Learned From Chester Bennington's Death
Some of us are looking forward to Friday. Where I'm from, many schools are breaking up for the summer that day - it's a day to celebrate, to get excited, to dream up ideas for things to do to fill six sunny, carefree weeks. I should be one of those people. But as excited as I am to finish the school year, my mind will go somewhere else during the final assembly. More precisely, to thoughts of someone else. Someone who can't be with us anymore.