Jenny Wilson - Exorcism
Bittersweet Pop. That painful marriage of dark words and a melody you can't shake. The National Jazz Trio of Scotland just did it, and you could argue that Dax J's latest also used contentious subject matter to supercharge the power of the music. Now Swedish songwriter Jenny Wilson steps into the light with an album so shocking in its content that these examples are like nursery rhymes by comparison.
Wilson was sexually assaulted in 2016 and, compelled to write about the harrowing experience in order to purge herself of the mental trauma, has written an album of brutally sincere Pop songs, and named it Exorcism. This is not entirely new territory for Wilson though, her 2013 award-winning album Demand the Impossible dealt with her breast cancer diagnosis and won plaudits for her bravery.
Unfolding like a macabre stage performance and dissected across nine acts, the grisly event and its aftermath are scrutinised with the sharpest incisions, leaving little to the imagination. Opening track RAPIN* throws us directly into the fray, with an uncomfortable balance between the explicit lyrical narrative and seductive musical accompaniment; a combination used throughout the album to great effect. The darkest act is undeniably Lo' Hi' where Wilson recounts:
My back and his sharp elbow
His left hand shut me up
Listen close, I said 'No'
Progressing through stages of anger, reflection, attempts to move on, sadness and (finally) signs of hope, each step reveals a woman working hard to cauterise her wounds. It's extremely difficult listening at times but when the Pop hooks are this catchy it's impossible to resist. I've even found myself singing out some particularly disturbing lines in public, like this:
He's riding with his dick in a hole
Unrelenting and unwilling to compromise on its truth, in Exorcism Wilson has emerged with that rarest thing: a record that dares to simultaneously upset, move, inspire and galvanise its listener.
- Rating: 9/10
- Listens: 18
- Highlight: Forever is a Long Time
- Label: Gold Medal Recordings
- Release Date: 20th Apr 2018