From a woman pretending to be a man to a… No, fuck, that’s not it at all. From a woman with short hair to a… No, hang on… From a women who finds no shame in being French to a man who… no, a woman who finds no shame in… a person who…
From a human being, to another human being. From one fabulous album to another album that’s that little bit more fabulous. Let’s take this one step at a time.
I was born in the 1980s. Maybe the late 1980s. Maybe the 1990s, actually, I’m not sure when I’d need to be born in order to still be 29. I think the rights, perspectives, experiences and dang existence of transgendered people is the major taboo that still needs to be properly accepted by my generation. My Dad spent much of his life believing that all gay people would give you AIDS by simply reading your name out loud three times, my Nana went to her death bed believing that all Pakistani people smelled of curry and didn’t wash their hands properly. It was difficult for the generations before me to accept the rights of people that were different to them, and I’m a bit ashamed to admit that it’s also not easy for me to fully accept the status of transgendered people. I’ve been brought up in a culture that never saw any problem in presenting transgendered people as either grotesque and dangerous serial killers (Silence of the Lambs) or disgusting freaks that were only good for joking about how sickeningly gross they are (Ace Ventura). Sure, you had the odd anomaly like Bugs Bunny, which would see nothing wrong in a man being sexually attractive to a transgendered rabbit, but that was a massive exception to the general rule. See? I don’t even know if that Bugs Bunny joke is offensive.
I want to be better though, I know that to not accept transgendered people in 2018 is no different than disregarding black people in the 1950s or gay people in the 80s, or maybe even Muslims in the 2000s. My lack of complete acceptance of transgendered people is probably the only (The. Only. The only) blemish on my otherwise perfect persona. I want to be perfect. Who wouldn’t?
Musical artists are playing a big part in normalise it to me. Wonderful records by Anohni and Against Me are helping me to see the proper human feeling behind being born into the wrong gender. The thing is, almost everything presented to the (right thinking) public about gender realignment only focuses on the very positives, on the honestly wonderful feeling of, as [NAME REDACTED] put it, recognising what is wrong with yourself then just fixing it. This is great, and understandable- we’re still in the early stages of properly accepting different modes of gender, and so at the moment it still seems like the general feeling is still weighted far too much over to the negative. We still need to be fighting the good fight by accentuating the positives.
Aqua Girl’s main strength is how she offers a far more balanced and wary view, understandably tentative over her decision to make such a huge, incredibly life changing decision. ‘Stereologue’ builds off the idea that desiring such a huge change must come from a deep dissatisfaction with who you are, or at least who you feel you are (“I just wanna understand myself“).
“When I finally get on estrogen am I gonna feel like myself again?
This fleshy fucking vessels gotta be more trouble than it’s fucking worth
Every second of my life that I cannot
Feel my heartbeat inside oh I’d rather die oh I’d rather die
Than stay like this forever and never change or evolve
And hope my problems will solve themselves
Oh but I can’t yet wait what if it’s way too early
What if I regret changing more than I currently regret my birth
Regret my birth”
However, despite ‘Stereologue’s amazing ability to tell the journey into gender realignment with through relatable and universal terms, whatever Aqua Girl’s gender is is such a small part of why ‘Stereologue’ is one of the year’s best records. She’s a prodigiously talented writer and performer, who has already shown that she may well be getting even better.
Sure, maybe it’s not subjectively the 19th greatest album of 2018, but I don’t want this blog to repeat how good the unanimously adored albums are, in reviews the artists will never read*. I want to support exciting and lesser known music like ‘Stereologue’, I want to highlight artists for whom being mentioned in my silly little blog might actually make a difference or just make them aware that there is a point to them making their amazing music! Aqua Girl might not have unanimously released one of the best records of the year, but she may well do one day. Her album’s, like, a dollar guys, if everyone reading this bought it then she might be able to order a Big Mac meal for lunch.
(*apart from Christine, of course, who just can’t get enough of it)
Yeah, Aqua Girl’s half on this record might be even better than ‘Stereologue’, which bodes extremely well for her future achievements. However, Don’t Do It Neil’s cover of In A Dark Room might actually be better than Aqua Girl’s original, which has to put a bit of strain on their friendship.
That, my friends, is all you need