If you were to give me one word to describe Girl Pusher‘s music, it would be cathartic. Cathartic in a way where the music is a raw and candid blackwashing of the female mind. Since the dawn of time, females had to live with expectations of their characters that wholly contradict that of a man’s filthiest and most contradicting fantasies.
The idea of women defining themselves and their own character seemed like a joke to those who had never seen them as truly human (or truly equal, really) in the first place. You know that joke people tell where the only reason that women cry is because it is illegal to kill people? Every time Girl Pusher releases an album, it is like they are collectively shouting “fuck that and fuck you”. 911 does not stray from that concept one bit.
911, conveniently released on September 11th, begins with an urgent bleating of synths and distant police/ambulance sirens. Buried underneath is a conversation wrapped around wanting to be with a man not for anything sexual, but for the sake of adopting some of the man’s happiness for her own.
The theme of Girl Pusher has always been voicing unhappiness, be it through the topic of dysphoria, abuse, trauma or confronting one’s inner demons. Gabrielle tosses all of one’s expectations of her into the fire and goes directly for the jugular each track. Even when she is whispering, it feels like an explosion just waiting to happen at any time.
“Where the Fuck is My Ambulance” finds her spitting into the face of entitled males who seek to control and hurt her very existence. All the while Resign’s stuttering drums and synth arrangements perfectly backs up the acidic lyrics. In “red was the color of the candle”, they pulsate like the worst headache one can possibly suffer. It’s only right that “out of breath” would feel like the ending that 911 (or rather, all of their oeuvre) had been building up to: the song that lets off a huge amount of emotional catharsis by biting the heads off those who seek to demean, control, silence or overall erase women of color like Gabrielle.
Fuck the delicate, big-bow ending. Fuck all the tears that this may evoke. If Will Sheff had someone constantly demean and (in)directly attack his entire existence, I bet your bottom dollar that he’d be screaming his lungs at those very oppressors, too.