U.S. Girls – In A Poem Unlimited
Toronto-based artist Meghan Remy has made a lot of records as U.S. Girls in the past decade. Such prolific output has allowed her to find her rather distinct voice as an artist, which means that each new record is becoming for focused and refined.
The backing of a big label has certainly helped in that regard to, as she brings her songs out of the bedroom and into a more polished setting.
Her shiny art pop takes on many different guises on album number eight In A Poem Unlimited. So do the themes of her songs.
But the overall mood is pretty constant throughout. Remy is fed up with the shit women have been putting up with for as long as we can tell.
‘Velvet 4 Sale’ starts off steamy. Over slinky lite-funk, Remy coos like Kylie Minogue. But she’s singing with purpose. In the song she posits, what would happen if women decided to become violent in response to their mistreatment by men?
The forlorn disco of ‘M.A.H.’ is the most bizarre (but brilliant) sounding admonishments of the Obama administration you’ll hear. The music is a brilliant modern interpretation of late 70s nightclub fare, but the lyrics are completely damning.
The war rolled on and on, I left that land my home
We watched your hair go grey, that stressful manly shade
You wore it well, no one could tell the situation was hell
But lies shone in your eyes
Disco is not necessarily regarded as the most political of genres, but Remy proves that it could – and maybe should – be.
This is key to what makes U.S. Girls such an enticing musical prospect. Remy uses unpredictable musical motifs to completely flip your expectations of any given song.
The relatively straightforward psych-pop tune ‘Rage Of Plastics’ features a wild sax solo that launches it into the stratosphere.
The noisy, deep groove of ‘Incidental Boogie’ might make you wanna dance, until you hear the harrowing lyrics, which frankly depict a relationship fraught with violence and manipulation.
‘I got myself a real man who don't hit that hard, so I can still work at my job’, Remy sings.
And the album’s best song, ‘Pearly Gates’ mashes up haunting hip hop production, religious imagery and frank discussions on sexual assault, the imbalance of power in sexual relationships and generally lecherous behaviour into a brilliant pop song.
St. Peter asked for one chance to be an angel in his eyes
It seemed to be the safe bet, so I closed my eyes
And I opened my gates wide and St. Peter came inside
This is a fascinating record that showcase Remy’s brilliant musicianship, but, more impressively, her subversive and ultimately very clever take on pop music. She has a lot to say and she has an incredible way of saying it.