I’ve been searching for words to explain my new favorite album, and instead I’m going to defer to the artist, my buddy Taja Cheek (L’Rain). “How do we think through, express for, attest to, commit within and embody a substantive change for ourselves?” asks her bandcamp page. “What does it mean to internally engage with an abolition politic? These questions compose and propel the sonic energy of Fatigue.”
This album pulls moments (a roommate singing), traumas (her mother’s death), and histories (Black girls’ hand games) from L’Rain’s life into a stream-of-consciousness tapestry that rewards careful listening as it processes personal and collective growth. That challenge is also a very exciting listening experience. Take “Two Face,” a sort of psychedelic jazz progression weaving complex rhythms and space-age production around an imagined conversation with a friend after a fallout. Elsewhere, you’ll find field recordings paired with intimate vocals.
“This album is an exploration of the simultaneity of human emotions…the audacity of joy in the wake of grief, disappointment in the face of accomplishment,” L’Rain says. “The pervasiveness of this layering of emotions can be surprising, empowering, and discouraging; these overlaps happen every single moment, all the time.” Listen here, over and over.
Now that Cosby is back out, did you hear that Victoria’s Secret is getting a re-brand? I guess they’re tired of losing market share to feminism, so they’re ditching the angels (and the CEO who was buddies with Jeffrey Epstein) and picking up an all-female board and a squad of wonder-woman ambassadors. The VS Collective includes Megan Rapinoe, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the plus-size model Paloma Elsesser, the Olympic skier Eileen Gu, the trans model Valentina Sampaio, the Sudanese refugee model Adut Akech, and the photographer and #Girlgaze founder Amanda de Cadenet. This super troupe will not only endorse but help make brand and product decisions, including adding maternity clothing to the roster. And naturally, they’re going to make a podcast. That should make up for the generations of male-gaze-poisoned body image, sure.
In the course of shopping online for, say, underwear, maybe you’ve seen that little Klarna widget floating around, encouraging you to buy-now-pay-later. Really, they let you pay in installments, the way you might for a fridge or something, only this time, you’re buying a scented candle that we assume, because you’ve deferred payment, you can’t really afford right now. So then you owe Klarna money, which we generally think of as “debt,” only this time, it’s been cleverly rebranded as freedom for women. As Eva Wiseman wrote in the Guardian, “The rise of the new female-focused BNPL companies… comes at a time when women’s wallets are uniquely bruised. The pandemic recession has led to more job losses among women than men, the gender savings gap is widening, and the gender pay gap is on track to remain until 2059.” And yet, in 2020, Klarna was worth more than £7.48bn, thanks to ads encouraging ladies to shop and “boost their moods” during the pandemic. Tell me, how mood-boosting is your debt when it doesn’t come in pink?