Review by Andrew Houghton for MPM
Back in the summer of 2020, Delilah Bon made her debut as the alter ego of Lauren Tate, best known for her work with Hands Off Gretel and her solo album, ‘Songs For Sad Girls‘. Delilah’s debut video, ‘Devil‘, alerted the world not just to a new persona for Lauren, but also a thrilling new sound: ‘brat punk’.
A succession of singles has followed, each accompanied by an attention-grabbing and slickly-produced video, and now her much-anticipated first album is about to drop later this week.The self-titled album has twelve stunning tracks, of which five – ‘Freak Of The Week‘, ‘Red Dress‘, ‘Chiquitita‘, ‘War On Women‘ and ‘I Get The Feelin’‘ – are as yet unreleased.
I was fortunate to receive a preview copy of the album back in March, and it’s become the most-repeated item on my playlist since then.
A captivating blend of rap and nu-metal, fusing the attitude of punk with the swagger of hip-hop, Delilah’s music represents the most exciting development in the genre since Rico Nasty interweaved hip-hop and trap to create her signature ‘sugar trap’.’Freak of the Week‘ opens the album with a well-aimed swipe at creeps in clubs.
Anyone who doubts that there’s a serious problem with misogyny in music – yes, even in 2021 and despite the era of #MeToo – needs to open their eyes and notice the behaviour happening right under their noses at gigs. And not just one-off acts, but stuff that happens time after time after time [“So 1, 2, 3 it’ll happen again, he’s coming over here with the rest of his friends…“].
Delilah pulls no punches in calling this out – and so should the rest of us.’Soul Sisters‘ turns the spotlight onto the toxicity of the ‘not like other girls’ culture, while ‘Bad Attitude‘ is the first of many album highlights: here is Delilah’s middle finger anthem, aimed squarely at those who would dare to undermine her independence.
The no-compromise lyrics are underline by a thunderous bassline that will make your surroundings shudder. If you manage to play just one of the tracks at full volume before your neighbours summon the police, make it this one.
Where My Girls At‘ returns to the issue of women’s safety with lyrics that have a painful relevance and tragic topicality [“We’ve got to stay angry for / All the girls killed every night / Needed us right there by her side”]. With ‘School‘, Delilah flicks another middle finger at the bullies and teachers who undermined her at school, and the hypocrisy of those who now seek to be her friend.
The moodiness of ‘Red Dress‘ marks one of Delilah’s most personal and introspective songs, detailing the challenges she has faced in her life and career, and providing her retort to those who have repeatedly dragged her down. In contrast, the catchy riffs of ‘Chiquitita‘ provide an upbeat shift that underpins lyrics celebrating older women who discover themselves later in lifeIn ‘Chop Dicks‘, the attention turns to rape culture and the tendency towards victim blaming.
As Delilah herself says, educating your daughters is one thing, but how about educating your sons? [“Feminism is a hell of a ride / As we’re teaching our daughters about having some pride / But it’s our sons sitting in their bedrooms / Watching porn with their brothers that we gotta remind“].’
Homework‘ and ‘Devil‘ provide two highlights in succession. ‘Homework‘ is an anthem to female independence, serving as an effective reminder to young women that their self-worth comes from within, not from a man to give it or take it away from them.
Meanwhile ‘Devil‘ highlights Delilah’s playful side and gives us some of the wittiest lyrics on the album.’War on Women‘ is possibly the standout track of the album, casting its net across rape culture, racism, homophobia, transphobia and the climate crisis.
It’s a slow burn, and all the more powerful for it, its fiercely intelligent lyrics carrying a message that comes across as positively anthemic [“A war on women is a war on us all / The ice caps are melting like the good in us all / A war on gender is a war on us all / They hate what is different and they kill what is small”].Delilah saves one last middle finger for ‘I Get The Feelin’‘, a final declaration of independence borne out of the recognition that whatever you do, there are always going to be haters.
The whole album is an outstanding piece of work from start to finish, and is a testament not only to Delilah Bon’s creativity but also her dedication – she has a work ethic that makes Taylor Swift look like a slacker, and the commitment and focus that she pours into every aspect of her music, from the songwriting to the performance to the production to the videos – pays dividends in terms of how consistently good everything is.
Delilah Bon’s work adds to the growing roster of new and exciting music to emerge from creative powerhouse that currently exists in Yorkshire, be it Vicious Precious’s outstanding new album ‘Soul For Sale‘, or Olivia Hyde’s eagerly anticipated solo album.
Yorkshire is rapidly developing the cultural significance that Manchester held in the late 1980s, as an epicentre of thrilling new music that resonates with the era. However this time it also carries a message of female empowerment and independence, and that comes not a moment too soon.
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