The German-born composer, artist, and producer released his debut album “They Might’ve Even Loved Me,” in late March and, according to an interview with NPR, the album shows his feminist side. All the songs are dedicated to the different women who made him into the man he is today.
At first, it all felt a bit timely and politically appropriate. Then, it felt strange and forced. The album is billed as odes to love lost and role models. Like most albums, though, it could be summed up by the word “relationships” just as easily as it is summed up by the word “women.”
The first song on the album, “Man Up” is, decidedly, not feminist at all. It says that women are better than or deserve more than men. The chorus repeats, “This world was never meant for us…it’s for the girls and children first and then men.” It’s unclear what the song is trying to accomplish. The tone is a bit frightening and the whole thing is bad for the cause.
The song represents the misconception that many people believe: feminists want women to rise above men. In reality, feminism is simply the belief that men and women are equal. The goal of the feminist movement is for every woman to know that there aren’t things she shouldn’t do just because she’s a woman.
But I digress.
Aside from “Man Up,” the 18 track album seems to be mostly about sex. When it’s not about sex, it appears to be about navigating relationships of many different natures and levels of commitment.
The prevalence of sex in this album is not unexpected. NoMBe’s singles “Freak Like Me” and “Wait” are explicitly and unabashedly about having or wanting a sexual relationship. So, I didn’t expect to read that it was considered a “feminist” album.
When I sat down and listened to it, though, I realized I was wrong. The album is “feminist” but not in a traditional sense. It celebrates women, their differences, and their sexuality.
NoMBe paints both partners equally and talks about women in a non-derogatory or judgemental way. He didn’t write about how great the sex was and then turn around and shame the woman he was with, or call her a “bitch” or a “hoe” or any of the negative names audiences often hear. He doesn’t perpetuate the bizarre and outdated idea that men take something from women when they have sex. It doesn’t perpetuate many of our culture’s double standards.
Most of the songs seem to be about relationships. I couldn’t find a song that I would say is obviously about his grandmother, godmother or any other female role model as many sources suggest, but the album is feminist in a great way. In a way, people have been avoiding tackling the issues he brings up.
“They Might Have Even Loved Me,” is very unique but it isn’t the subject that separates this album from the rest. It’s a great album.The songs take inspiration from classic rock and punk. It can be bluesy, funky, and has some r&b moments, but at the end of the day, it’s alternative. It is easy to listen to, it is different and current. The fact that it provokes this much thought and conversation only makes it all the more important.