U.S. Girls - Bless This Mess Music Album Reviews

Meg Remy’s most free-ranging and least narrative-minded album draws on retro funk and ’80s R&B as it infuses her biting social critique and wry humor with fresh optimism. 

Rare is the mess Meg Remy won’t chronicle. Abusive relationships, government surveillance, ecological disasters, capitalist exploitation—clunky when you spell it out so plainly, but these are the forces Remy’s characters are up against in her music as U.S. Girls. On past records, she rendered these narratives with solemn resignation or snarling intensity, her edicts of hard-earned hope never reaching a neat resolution. On her new album, Bless This Mess, she softens, searching for silver linings where there shouldn’t be any. Even when her optimism gets mangled through banal middle-aged and artistic angst—FaceTime is weird, but maybe serves a purpose? Music is healing, sort of like a rainbow?—Remy’s quest to find beauty amid a circus of suffering feels purposeful, like a weathered activist reflecting on how they’ve staved off cynicism after so many years.

Considering Remy’s roots as an experimental musician, it’s tempting to sticker each new U.S. Girls release as the “most accessible yet,” but Bless This Mess certainly makes a case. After beginning her solo career as a fuzz-crazed, lo-fi noise rocker—a DIY approach Remy later clarified was less an aesthetic choice than a result of limited resources—she transitioned to making art-pop that felt tame by comparison. Her projects pulled from ’60s soul, ’70s funk, gauzy psychedelia, post-punk, and synth-rock, her gestalt wandering between David Bowie and Broadcast, Animal Collective and Robyn. Her work was often difficult, littered with spoken-word skits and ambiguous narrative arcs, grainy mixes that eschewed clean arrangements, songs that detailed sexual violence and castigated Barack Obama. 

Bless This Mess doesn’t shy away from such complexities—there’s plenty of anticapitalist critique and interpersonal distress—but it’s a decidedly forward-looking album. Glossier and more hi-fi than anything in Remy’s catalog, it draws from ’80s R&B, synth-pop, disco-house, and ’90s shoegaze to create a cascade of bright colors and gorgeous grooves, music that matches her aggressively optimistic demeanor. Opener “Only Daedalus” is a gold-streaked fusion of R&B and funk that uses the ancient Greek myth to comment on the hubris of our overbearing technocrats, Remy asking, “Where is your soul?” before chiding that “the world is not your wheel.” You don’t need to unlock the writing to have a ball, though; “Only Daedalus” begs you to lose yourself in the rhythm, to dance before wondering what it all means.

Although Bless This Mess favors retro funk and honeyed R&B, Remy recruits a diverse community of collaborators to help her explore different styles. On the smoldering synth-pop cut “Futures Bet,” co-produced by her husband, Slim Twig, she suggests that we can alleviate existential anxiety by “breathing in, breathing out.” Halt your eye roll—unlike self-help books and profit-seeking CEOs, Remy’s evocation of mindfulness reads not as a flimsy bromide but as a way to attain stability through the most freely available self-care practice. She follows this up with the Ryland Blackinton (Cobra Starship) and Alex Frankel (Holy Ghost!)-produced “So Typically Now,” an electro-house screed against urban flight and combustible real estate markets. Its criticisms are biting, but Remy also seems to be winking at former city dwellers who have discovered freedom beyond fast-paced, work-obsessed lives. 

Written and recorded while pregnant, and then while tending to her newborn twins, Bless This Mess is Remy’s most free-ranging and least narrative-minded record. She evokes the disorientation of childbirth on “Pump,” a song that grapples with the sudden bodily and emotional demands of being a mother. But the most striking line arrives when she observes that “what I do tonight, it makes our tomorrow,” a seemingly obvious observation that illuminates how the habits of attention she advocates for throughout the album—meditation, humility, a life without screens—feel more urgent now that she’s modeling them for children. Her less direct contemplations on motherhood tend to be more insightful, like on “St. James Way,” in which a woman takes a taxi down the Camino de Santiago and thinks, “I don’t want a castle, just a door to shut.” The plea for privacy recalls Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, as does Remy’s wrestling with the incongruities of maternity and art-making, socially prescribed gender roles and personal freedom. Bless This Mess isn’t the exacting political statement that 2018’s In a Poem Unlimited and 2020’s Heavy Light were, but it expounds the belief that acknowledging our inherited hardships can help us carve a path to fulfillment.

On “Tux (Your Body Fills Me, Boo),” a song narrated from the perspective of a tuxedo buried in a closet, Remy sings, “I was your passport to so many rooms, your mask of pure exclusivity/Now you treat me like a long-gone novelty, a costume—is that how you see me?” It’s a cheeky conceit deployed to consider how gendered wardrobes construct and confine our identities, how these items infuse us with confidence, insecurity, vanity. It’s also a disco-funk explosion, ecstatic from every direction. Even when the satire wanes, the potency of the music remains. Like the rest of the album, Remy shakes free her sorrows and stretches loose her limbs, sanguine as she moves across the dancefloor.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
U.S. Girls - Bless This Mess Music Album Reviews U.S. Girls - Bless This Mess Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 06, 2023 Rating: 5


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