The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Let’s talk about gender, baby

This year, March has been little but the month before April for me. And April, man, that’s where it’s at. On the ninth, the Knife is releasing their first album since 2006, “Shaking the Habitual.” Over the past couple months we’ve gotten a glimpse of what’s to come with the singles “Full of Fire” and “A Tooth for an Eye.”
I came to their masterpiece “Silent Shouts” a year or two after it was released, but that didn’t stop the Swedish brother-sister duo from sonically dismantling my teenage brain. (Incoming freshman may have overlooked the album in the midst of preparations for their elementary school graduation.)
The Knife’s intense electronic compositions mess with assumptions about songwriting, while Karin Dreijer Andersson, her voice oscillating between a high pitch and a masculine boom, tears down assumptions about gender roles.
“Full of Fire” keeps to this anti-tradition and even amplifies it. Andersson is known to pitch her voice low and satirically don male garbs; here, as the song treads on, her voice gets distorted past the point of being recognizibly male or female, perhaps an evolution from a feminist point-of-view to one that questions gender in general.
Throughout the track’s nine minutes, the underlying rhythm keeps a steady beat, deviating only slightly. I can’t help but feel this underscores the issues Andersson communicates through small, jagged and repetitive lyrics: “Of all the guys and the signori, / who will write my story,/ get the picture, they get the glory./ Who will look after my story?”
The more recent, “A Tooth for an Eye,” is less assaulting with its music, but deals with similar themes of history and stories. “I’m telling you stories / Trust me / And we write history / to suit our needs.”
Andersson’s lyrics are a bit esoteric and dense, but you can appreciate the Knife’s music on a mere aesthetic level. “A Tooth for an Eye” showcases their use of classic instrumentation. As a complement to their largely electronic sound, the group makes use og unexpected percussion and woodwind arrangementss.
Stop me if I’m sounding like a grumpy old man, but if you kids want some electronica with a little more substance than the internet-meme-filled trash heap that is dubstep, give the Knife a listen.
Open up. Expand your mind, man.

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Let’s talk about gender, baby