Sad13 balances dance pop and discourse on Slugger

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Sad13 | photo by shervin lainez | photo courtesy of the artist
Sad13 | photo by Shervin Iainez | photo courtesy of the artist

Last year, Speedy Ortiz reached a critical and commercial high point with Foil Deer thanks to Sadie Dupuis’  playful, grunge-y arrangements and complex, thoughtful lyrics. She’s made her name off of these traits, but she’s primed and ready to make a new one with solo moniker Sad13. On the project’s debut album, Slugger, she forgoes angular rock for idiosyncratic pop while still maintaining her literary edge.

While Dupuis has always had a penchant for sing-song melodies, the dense, colorful production of Slugger paints them in an entirely new light. This thing gurgles, fizzes, and pops like melted plastic, and it would almost sound psychedelic if it weren’t for the grounded, clear-eyed vocals. Foil Deer had its fair share of socially-conscious lyrics, but here, they seem even more pointed.

Tracks like “Hype” and “Coming Into Powers” are fiery take downs of the marginalization of women, and previously-released standout “Get a Yes” is an anthem for sexual consent. Meanwhile, “Devil in U” and “Just a Friend” explore the dangers of toxic masculinity, but the message is never to the music’s detriment. These songs deliver relevant discourse while remaining fun, catchy, and inventive; and if that’s the mark of a great songwriter, I don’t know what is.

Sad13’s Slugger will be out November 11th via Carpark Records, but you can stream it now below care of NPR. In a deft, poetic move, the New Englander turned Philadelphian will play the baseball-themed Everybody Hits in support of the album on Monday, December 12th.

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