Cultural Bulletin
Cultural Bulletin is a quarterly magazine that provides an international view of creative work. We look to film, music, design and art as signifiers of our cultural moment.

IN REVIEW: Marie Davidson - Working Class Woman

Label: Ninja Tune


‘Do you wanna know how I get away with everything? 
I work all the fucking time’. 

‘I feel empty in the summer breeze in the mountain facing me. I hear children playing in the field next to my dads house.’

‘I don’t need a VR Headset to feel emotion. Reality is disgusting enough and we all have to deal with it.’ 

Life can cause you to get it lost in it. Consumer, Capitalist, Family Member, Partner, Living PR Campaign and Mental Person are personas many of us embody. The last one, 'Mental Person', is perhaps a product of an attempt to reconcile all the others into one being. As 2018 draws to a close, we may reflect that our relationship with reality is more abstract than it was the year before.

Marie Davidson's 4th album Working Class Woman captures the strangeness and surrealism that exists in the relationships between the different lives we lead. Adaptable as we are, the form of our conscious, the structure of our being has been shaped collectively by our societal and cultural values. This means that our view of the world is imprinted in ways that we cannot consciously perceive. 

As satirical as Working Class Woman is - it sincerely uses the energy of the subject matter it is making fun of. The ability to be serious and not serious at the same time, combining multiple personas, is a hallmark of our the world we find ourselves in. There is a clear benefit to being able to embrace the fact of contradiction that being human brings. This way of being has been a proponent of art and music for decades but has recently been crystallised in the everyday use of social media. It is a collective call to let go of the real. 

Working Class Woman provides a voice that is close to how many of us are actually living, whether it is the values we embody through our actions or an inner dialogue - a secret persona. The idea of multiple personas is typically associated with schizophrenia or con-artists so, is it possible to be mentally ill in one aspect of our life and rock-solid in another? (Yes). What is different now is that there is an option to allow these personas to consciously coexist. A way of being that could be described as a cynical embrace or closer to the reality of things. 

We have all seen and/or been people that, in a cringe-inducing manner, try to be somebody they’re not. Davidson’s personas are built from tonal qualities of their environments. They are conscious reflections that are appropriately nuanced and subtle - well adapted. There is an acceptance that comes with this way of conceptualising oneself that flies in the face of the idea of being one coherent being. It rejects the idea that our contradictions make us less authentic or less real. 

Despite being a great record, Davidson suggests that Consumer, Capitalist, Family Member, Partner, Living PR Campaign, Mental Person or any other persona are not mutually exclusive. They can all exist coherently and in doing so, present a version of ourselves to the world that is closer to who we really are. Less idealised but more idealised, less contradictory but more contradictory and less real but more real. It is as if after all these millions of years of evolution, it's finally time to stop making sense. AG