Sad13 – Slugger

Album Review by Katie Hawthorne | 02 Nov 2016
  • Sad13 – Slugger
Album title: Slugger
Artist: Sad13
Label: Carpark Records
Release date: 11 Nov

'I say yes to the dress when I put it on / I say yes if I want you to take it off / If you want to, you’ve gotta get a yes.' God, how good does it feel to hear these words out loud?

At the time of writing (pre-8 Nov/potential doomsday), eleven women have raised their voices with allegations against US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s grab'n'grope policies. Footballer Ched Evans literally got out of jail free after his accuser had her sexual history used against her in court. A legal battle for Ke$ha’s freedom from producer Dr. Luke disintegrated into a slut-shaming circus that prioritised capital investment over her emotional and physical safety, as well as her career. These are just a chosen few; a handful of bleak examples of our culture's thoroughly fucked attitude towards sexuality. Are you angry? So are we.  

Sad13 is Sadie Dupuis of US indie band Speedy Ortiz, and she’s turned her frustrations with the music industry’s male gaze into Slugger; an album that speaks to the soul of any person who feels threatened by a cavalier approach to gender politics, be it at work, at home, or at a rock show. Like the advice column we’ve never had, Dupuis covers 'just a friend' conversations, consent, trust, arseholes (real and metaphorical), self-worth, solitude and emotional abuse with eloquence and empathy. Crunchy, catchy hooks mean you’ll be humming these anthems all day – and there’s nothing more satisfying than an earworm that’s also shouting out for equality.

Slugger dances from indie jams to synth-powered bedroom discos, and American rapper Sammus’ bars on the record’s closer, Coming Into Powers, are a roof-raising celebration of self-powered creative independence. Tell U What ('I’m worth every dime you have / Tell you what, I’m not worth your violence') is a succinct sucker-punch that says it all, standing up to bullying partners with assertion and awareness. Dupuis' rock gems may be concise (and often extremely personal), but they capture a whole world of complexities and contradictions.

She turns internet slang into kitsch curation on <2, a spiralling, laugh-track spit-back with a truly noughties put-down, and Line Up borrows pop-punk pacing for a thrill ride, with shout-outs to wealth redistribution and supposed safe spaces. Nuanced, thoughtful discussions broadcast with power and volume: please give Sad13 all your yesses. But only if you want to.

Listen to: Get a Yes, Coming Into Powers