MUSIC

PREMIERE | Lindsay Kay Unleashes Pent-Up Anger In Elegant 'Too' Video

The Bright-Eyed Singer and Songwriter to Release Debut Album, For The Feminine, By The Feminine, Oct. 5

Anastasia Lebedeva

Kay commands attention in new visual.

We are in the Age of the Reckoning. Men are finally being held accountable. Women are finally being heard.

Months before the disastrous 2016 election and the #MeToo movement that ignited a fury across the nation, the air hung thick with rebellion, and it was only a matter of time. It was hiding just below the surface and waiting to be liberated. You could feel it, and singer-songwriter Lindsay Kay could feel it too and knew what was coming next. Like many women and female-identifying individuals, the harboring of rage and truth was becoming too much, and upon her return from an artist residency in France in early 2016, Kay's creativity exploded in an elaborate and stunning array.

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That's how her debut album, For the Feminine, by the Feminine, was bred and born. From the top down, it is made entirely by women or female-identifying individuals, serving as a proudly-polished and shining suit of armor. And her new single "Too," a supple and penetrating piece, unsheathes a sharp and sudden admission of "the ways in which women and feminine-identifying people compress themselves for their masculine counterparts," Kay tells Popdust, premiering the equally-momentous music video today.

As displayed in tempered intensity in the clip, Kay lists the ways men have commandeered women with a masterful calm, "To be quiet so they can speak louder; to shrink our physical bodies to give them more space; to suppress our pain to bring them comfort. It is about the sacrifices we make, many times at our own detriment, to make their lives more pleasant, and about finally acknowledging that we are living, breathing, feeling, complex, multi-faceted human beings, and we are important too," she says.

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The video, which rises and falls along with the cry of strings and horns, was directed by Anastasia Lebedeva and captures the beauty and scope of femininity, relishing in color, lines, and shapes. "She is truly a visionary, and this video is really a meeting of our visions and ideas on femininity and its incredible strength and beauty," says Kay, who teamed forces to art direct the video. "Many of the images you'll see in the video were things I had been imagining for quite a long time while I was writing the album, but it would never have been possible to create this work without Anastasia's amazing ability to understand my crazy ideas and capture them so beautifully, while also proposing crazy ideas of her own with such vulnerability."

"We wanted the video to express moments of feminine pain, sorrow and restraint, as well as moments of feminine celebration, sensuality, and togetherness. But above all, we wanted to create something beautiful made by women, for women."

Watch below:

Kay's love of fashion understandably played a vital role in the final product, allowing her to inhabit various versions of herself all at once, a tour de force of passion. "One of the elements of the video I feel most proud of is the beautiful garments that I and the other folks featured were so privileged to wear. I was determined to have fashion play a prominent role in the video, as that is a way I love to express myself," she says.

Kay utilized Instagram to cull female fashion designers "whose work really spoke to me," she notes. She stumbled upon the work of six talented female designers from all over the world for "the most beautiful, unique clothes, and I was overjoyed that each one agreed to send me one or several garments to wear in the video. These clothes aren't just bits of fabric that look nice on bodies: they're art, and each piece has something to say."

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Notably, Kay dons a dress (below) from the "Let's Talk About Perfection" collection by Tove Berner-Wik. "On the front, it says 'ugly, disgusting, gross, hideous,' and on the back, it says 'beautiful, gorgeous, sexy, fabulous.' And my friends standing next to me wore garments that bore the words 'good enough' and 'this is only an illusion.' That felt important, to have the clothes conveying their own commentary."

Kay's voice is spacious, often unwavering and smooth like ripples across the lake's surface. Even in addressing such culturally-important and personal issues, she is comforting and graceful. "I'm not your silent muse," she sings, a quiet roar that quakes the ground on which she walks.

For the Feminine, by the Feminine is out October 5.

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Follow Lindsay Kay on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Jason Scott is a freelance music journalist with bylines in B-Sides & Badlands, Billboard, PopCrush, Ladygunn, Greatist, AXS, Uproxx, Paste and many others. Follow him on Twitter.


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CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.

Villains always have the best outfits.

From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.

Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com

But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.

Oh, right.

Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.

Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com

Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.

As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.

History of Nazi Chic

For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.

The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.

Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it

Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.

The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.

Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.

Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com

Nazi Chic in Asia

Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.

A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.

In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.

OF COURSE. i.imgur.com

That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.

In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.

Implications

So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?

The answer is not so black and white.

On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.

But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.

Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.