Dorian Electra | My Agenda | (Independent)
5 out of 5 stars
Dorian Electra is one of the most innovative artists alive right now.
In October, they released My Agenda, a groundbreaking collection which serves as a testament to the genderfluid hyperpop artist’s brilliant songwriting and ingenious ear for production. Featuring cultural legends such as Pussy Riot and Rebecca Black (yes, the one who sang “Friday”), My Agenda evokes widely recognized symbols in order to make profound political statements … all while still being catchy enough to get stuck in your head for weeks.
That is to say, in an almost Suprematist way, Electra’s “art” lives less in the songs themselves and more in the interaction between the songs and the listener. Drop the needle at any point on My Agenda and you’re just as likely to hear something glitch pop-esque as you are to hear something Medieval-esque or circa-2011-esque. By utilizing an array of instruments, textures, genres and songforms, Electra engages your memories and associations towards those sounds.
Thematically, My Agenda examines masculinity, tackling topics such as incel culture, the politicization of athletics, culture wars and more. By analyzing these themes through a queer lens, Electra is able to turn them on their heads. Thus, you get songs like “Sorry Bro (I Love You),” which makes quite a statement about the perception of LGBT+ culture while also making homoeroticism feel safe and fun, as opposed to shameful.
Other highlights include “Monk Mode,” which combines Gregorian chant, glitch pop and heavy metal into a single minute-long song; “Ram It Down,” which blends Baroque harpsichord parts and Electra’s signature ultra-pitched vocals with a Mumford & Sons-esque beat (complete with a group-shout “hey”); and “F the World,” which features prime early-2010s saw synths and an appearance from art-punk favorites, The Garden.
In total, the world is clearly changing in 2020. While that seems clear in regard to things like politics and culture, it’s also true for art. With My Agenda, Electra is offering us the first view into a truly exciting future.