American Teenager by Ethel Cain

Once again there was a lot of new music to choose from this week. There was another new song off of Maggie Rogers’ forthcoming album, the a new Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs song that’s the first off what is going to be their first album in nine years, and more I haven’t even gotten to listen to yet. I’m actually going to go back a couple of weeks to an album that came out on May 18, Preacher’s Daughter by Ethel Cain. I started seeing Ethel Cain’s name pop up in a lot of music news recently and then someone shared one of her songs on NPR Music’s best songs of May episode, and I had to find out more. Ethel Cain, which is just the artist’s performance name, is a young trans woman originally from the Florida panhandle who now lives in rural Alabama. It’s very clear that she has a vision for her work and wants to create things her own way, and I’m very intrigued by it all. If you want to know more you can read a dozen different articles about her, but I recommend this New York Times profile.

Musically she seems to be getting compared a lot to Lana Del Rey, which I can sort of see. Though apparently she herself is not a fan of that comparison. I do like in the article that they mention she grew up only listening to Christian music and really started exploring other things after hearing a Florence + the Machine song in the closing credits of a movie. I can definitely feel that influence. Vocally I think she also sounds a lot like Maggie Rogers. There’s this same sort of warbling timbre I hear in both of their voices. This is definitely not a pop album in any way that modern pop exists. “American Teenager”, which is the song I’m sharing, is the closest you’re going to get to pop on it both in style and in length. At over 4 minutes it is long for a modern day pop song as they rarely go beyond 3 minutes these days thanks to the streaming economy. Most of the other songs on this album clock in at twice that at 8 or 9 minutes. There’s a lot to explore here and I look forward to spending a lot more time with this album.

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