In A Poem Unlimited is Powerful Four-On-The-Floor Call for Action
Something about Meghan Remy’s music feels off.
That feeling turns out to work to her advantage on the latest U.S. Girls album In a Poem Unlimited. Remy’s voice sounds straight from a 60s girls group, yet she croons over glittering synths and dance rhythms. Out of place and out of time, Remy’s new project is an addictive beast of a record.
In a Poem Unlimited in part chronicles abusive relationships, so the juxtaposition of these colorful songs with the grim lyrical content is unsettling. For instance, the album’s opener, “Velvet 4 Sale,” describes the desire for violent revenge after an abusive relationship: “This'll surely feel against your nature / But girl, you gotta move on / Guarantee at least one bullet goes behind the eyes / 'Cause they always could come back for more.”
A loungey Tom Waits sort of ambiance permeates “Rage of Plastics.” After a fitting sax intro, it slinks along in this smoky atmosphere. Remy’s fantastically emotive voice recounts having to change plans to suit a man’s desires. The lyrical work is especially astounding in these few lines: “I know it's a blight to the brightest how our designs unseam / Like the backside of some skirt in some old man's dream / I got caught putting off all my traveling plans for this refinery job and his maybes.” She’s able present unfortunate situations in a ways that don’t feel stilted and or lose clarity.
The bass walkdown on “M.A.H.” is just one of many standout musical moments on this album. It resonates well in the brain and attention to detail like this solidifies the quality of this record. Remy kills it on this one as she powerfulyl sings, “As if you couldn't tell, I'm mad as hell / I won't forget so why should I forgive? / No, not as long as we both shall live.” The instrumentation on this one serves as her rear guard, elevating her message memorably.
On its surface, “Incidental Boogie” can appear to be just a fun pop song. It turns out to be a noisy synthpop number that satirically rationalizes abuse. Remy sings, “And life was just too quiet / Without no one screaming at me / And then the incidental boogie / Grabbed a hold of me / And I got myself a real man / Who don't hit that hard / So I can still work at my job.” Her message is so potent that one can’t help but think about the issue she’s presenting.
“Pearly Gates” is really interesting as it incorporates Spanish guitar, giving the whole song a kind of dancey swagger. The song itself is tale of how women often get relegated to, as the song repeats, “just some man’s daughter,” even at the Pearly Gates.
A blissful deep cut is found in “Poem.” Oceanic synth arpeggios are brightly dappled across this song as deep bass helps the song glide along smoothly. Remy questions human nature in this song as it questions why do people act egregiously if deep down they know what is truly right. She inquires, “We all know what's right / We didn't get it from a book or a site / We know it in our bones / All blood flows the same / So why did we end up this way?” Despite this apparent doom, she ends on a hopeful question: “What are we gonna do to change?”
Across In a Poem Unlimited, Remy calls out abuse towards women and unreasonable actions. Her synth-laden manifesto takes multiple twists and turns, flexing its muscles along with the music. Remy’s found a way to present problems of the human nature in an especially stunning way.