U.S. Girls (aka Meg Remy) is one of the most quietly hardworking people in music. In A Poem Unlimited is 32-year-old Remy's sixth album, and it marks an exhilarating evolution for the artist while delivering some of the most exciting art-pop songs of recent times. The album turns toward upbeat, sunny alt-pop tunes – all of which conceal a dark, furiously political undertow.
Much of In A Poem Unlimited simmers with the rage and frustration felt by many in the modern climate – but particularly women in the wake of reckonings such as #metoo. Opener Velvet 4 Sale finds its central character hunting down her sexual abuser: "Don't offer no reason/Instil in them the fear that comes with being prey." ("Men are lucky women (and children) have yet to take up arms," Remy said of the song in a press release.) The delightful disco tune M.A.H channels pure anger towards the US Government, with Remy doing her best Blondie impression as she sings: "As if you couldn't tell, I'm mad as hell".
One of the most astounding aspects of the record is Remy's unwavering thematic focus; she directs all elements of her songs towards their central motifs, with often heart-rending results. This is most evident on Rosebud, an album standout about exploring one's mind in search of the root of our behaviours.
With a string line that sounds tantalisingly like the score of Moonlight, and a quirky, shuffling beat, Remy invites us to "use those keys and take a drive through the back alleys of your mind". The song's biggest emotional kick is a warning, spoken as words of comfort: "It'll hurt, I promise you."
It's off-kilter, avant-garde pop at its best, with political urgency dressed up in musical genius. Anger has never sounded this fun.
U.S. Girls, In A Poem Unlimited
In A Poem Unlimited
Thrilling, dynamic alt-pop fuelled by political urgency