Album Review: Sad13, ‘Slugger’
Written by Erik Svensson on December 1, 2016
By: Erik Svensson
Label: Carpark Record
Release Date: 11/11/2016
Photo courtesy of Bandcamp.com
Written in a bedroom in Philadelphia, Slugger is literal “bedroom pop” that takes the time to eschew modern pop conventions. Coming only somewhat as a surprise from indie artist Sadie Dupuis, Slugger is a party worthy pop album at its most superficial, but it also contains many important themes.
Dupuis first revealed the nature of Sad13 by dropping the single “Get a Yes,” a song about consent, and the potential for it to be a fun, enjoyable part of a sexual relationship. The song, like many on the record, contains a message that is often missing from pop music, while also being catchy and quite good. The style, while unexpected, can be traced to Dupuis’ own appreciation for pop music.
Unlike the intricate lyricism and murky meanings contained within the songs of Dupuis’ other band, Speedy Ortiz, the messages of the songs on Slugger are, for the most part, very straightforward. Simplicity in the message of these songs is not implying that the songs are boring or less worthy of an analytical ear. There is nuance in the writing of these songs, addressing a range of issues including gender roles, the objectification of women and heteronormativity being forced upon relationships. On songs like “<2” and “Just A Friend” listeners can find the most easily identifiable messages, about consent and non romantic friendships, respectively.
Specifically in “Just A Friend,” Dupuis sings about platonic friendships being perceived always leading to romance, pushing back against the notions that any friends of women are inherently attracted to the women and want to have a romantic relationship. On other songs, Dupuis sings poetically about gender equality and female empowerment (“Coming Into Powers”), not giving into the trope of female rivalry (“Hype”) and habits when dealing with toxic and abusive people (“Devil In U”).
Slugger is an impressive collection of songs from an impressive artist, creating something new and unique from her previous releases. This is not especially surprising, as Dupuis has released consistently impressive works for several years now. Unable to resist the opportunity for the pun and enamored by the music contained on this album, I’d like to say that Slugger is a home run.