Hannah Lonergan, Staff Writer |
After months of not finding any new interesting music, I was overjoyed to have found a new band who I thought reflected my opinions and values as a college-aged, punk rock-loving feminist. The band, who shall not be mentioned, had banging first and sophomore albums and was releasing new songs that showed their skill progression.
But, after listening to their music for a few days and planning on writing an album review for them, I went to the band’s Instagram account to find out that it is in the midst of serious allegations. Comments under their recent posts accused the band of being complicit to instances of abuse. In response, the band posted to its page saying, “We have spent our past four years fighting against injustice and abuse, both through our music and our actions. We will continue to do that.” The band ended with a final statement claiming, “We stand against all forms of abuse,” however, I was not entirely convinced.
Despite the original plan for this article to share a new find, it would be against my values to promote a band that is possibly supporting abusers. I also owe it to survivors of abuse to believe them first of all, and to not ignore allegations by artists I listen to.
As I’ve gotten older and my music taste has evolved, more bands I listened to as a young teenager have been exposed to be either directly involved in abuse allegations or complicit in the allegations. If you type in “pop-punk band” on Google, your second suggestion is “pop-punk band allegations.” This sub-genre of music is haunted by sexual assault allegations and riddled with stories of underaged harassment.
Rather than still listening to the artists who are involved in such allegations, I think it’s in my best interest (along with yours) to listen to music written and performed by those who support survivors of abuse. We should support people of color in music, women in music and trans- non-gender-conforming people in music. We should listen to the voices of those who are silenced, even if we are listening to their voice as a form of art.
So, I will not be providing an album review for you today. Rather, I will be recommending artists who I believe should have their voices lifted to the surface.
Here’s a small starter pack of music you should check out:
Hospital Bracelet – “sober haha jk unless”
If you’re a fan of angsty and sad alternative tunes, you might like Hospital Bracelet. With Eric Christopher (they/them) on guitar and vocals, their music is emotional, and according to their Spotify, “weaves tales about addiction, recovery, and survival in between discussions about role-playing games, Foo Fighters live sets and their trusty pickup truck.” Their recent release, “sober haha jk unless” bends time in the listener’s head and lets them ache with Eric.
Listen and support their music here: https://hospitalbracelet.bandcamp.com/track/sober-haha-jk-unless
Chynna – “seasonal depression”
The late Chynna Rogers was a female rapper from Philadelphia, who battled about addiction and wrote about some dark pieces of life. In one of her last Instagram posts she wrote, “I think there’s too many soundtracks to our lives,” following it with, “I need music to die to.” In “seasonal depression” we see the inner working of her head, with catchy rhymes and an ominous beat.
You can listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2c_-92zzpo
WILLOW – “9” ft. SZA
If you are not listening to Willow Smith in 2020, you should. She has a beautiful voice, that makes you feel all of the emotions that she holds in her lyrics. You might have heard her debut “Whip My Hair” back in 2010 but a decade later her hits like “Wait a Minute!” are going viral throughout social media platforms, most notably TikTok. I would recommend listening to her entire discography, but you can always start with “9” featuring SZA.
Almost every week on Twitter, another band sends out responses to allegations of assault or misconduct. Bands that many people have looked up to, that have minors in their audiences, are all being shown to not always have the best intentions.
There is an issue some face with disconnecting the artist from their music. But the reality is when you stream their music, you support the artist. It is your role as the listener to give your time and energy to musicians who deserve the spotlight.