Photo Credit: Coco Karol
Out Wed 23 May 2018
Production: Sketch & Dodds
A music review? In a book blog? What is this anarchic madness?!
Over the last few months, I’ve been toying with the idea of branching this blog out into other fields of art, culture and media, spurred on by my recent work with Scottish arts and culture magazine The Wee Review, and have been enjoying the opportunity to see and hear so many new things that I may otherwise never have come across so much that it seems worth conducting a little experiment to expand the scope of The Inkling’s Quill.
While I had originally intended to start this happy venture with something along the lines of a theatre review, since some would argue that theatre has a stronger literary element than music, I’ve been lucky enough to sample an upcoming release from Boston-born rock star Amanda Palmer (w has also written a book so this is still totally relevant, right?), and what better way to kickstart a new approach than by reviewing a song by an artist who’s well known for doing things her way and taking no prisoners? So without further ado, let’s talk music.
Anyone who’s familiar with Amanda Palmer’s work will no doubt know of the singer’s string of musical releases in the last year offering scathing commentaries on America in the era of Trump, post-truth and the #MeToo movement. Her track “Drowning in the Sound” pays tribute to the victims of last year’s devastating hurricanes; “Small Hands, Small Heart” speaks for itself in sky-high volumes, and Palmer’s new track titled “Mr Weinstein Will See You Now”, in collaboration with Welsh songwriter Jasmine Power, draws on the numerous accounts of sexual harassment and assault from women who have spoken out against the fallen Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein within the last year alone.
The song begins with the light ding of an opening elevator door, setting the scene in the listener’s mind of an apprehensive, unwitting victim making their way to Weinstein’s hotel room, hoping for a long-awaited career boost and unaware of the horror that awaits. Over atmospheric piano melodies, Palmer’s distinctive soft, deep vocals underscore this scene boldly and beautifully, setting off chills in the spine that will last throughout the entire five-minute track. Similarly, Jasmine Power brings further depth and tragic beauty to “Mr Weinstein Will See You Now”, as her voice overlaps with Palmer’s in an echo of multiple victims’ voices, conveying their resigned despair in lyrics such as “Let’s get this over with”, as well as their condemnation of those in the industry who knew of Weinstein’s behaviour but remained silent: “Shut your eyes, pay no attention, just keep calm and carry on.”
Gradually, the track builds up to a sweeping orchestral crescendo, complemented perfectly by the build-up in loud, raw emotion in the two singers’ voices, reflecting the explosion of accusations that came out against the disgraced producer from actors including Rose McGowan, Kate Beckinsale, Mira Sorvino and Salma Hayek, among over 50 others. The sound is at once haunting and heart-wrenching, but as the song nears its end the dominant notes of pain and hopelessness give way to a more positive, resilient tone, with the final words echoing in the mind long after the track finishes: “I’m the one writing this.” In just those few short words alone, Palmer and Power (God, that just works so well, doesn’t it? Palmer, Power, Palmer Power!) underline that the victims of Weinstein’s tyranny have succeeded in taking matters into their own hands, in taking back control from those who have oppressed, intimidated, and injured them, because as we all know, ladies and gents, Time’s Up.