“Sometimes I don’t want it all. But I’ve got it!”
How quickly self-assurance turns to dejection in this track, plucked from what I consider one of vaporwave’s most arresting and thought-provoking commentaries on femininity.
“BLUSH” is a crystal. It refracts several double-binds germane to a particular form of female experience under late capitalism. Musical motifs reiterate to the point of absurdity, then get abruptly spliced with insidious and sprightly reminders of unavoidable anxieties and responsibilities. The result is a whirlwind critique of authenticity, domesticity, and rape culture stretched across ten tight tracks.
“要温柔” (“Be Gentle”) is a centerpiece here, built on mass marketed messages about the joys and consequences of “having it all.” The protagonist of the sampled laxative commercial might not want it all (sometimes, she doesn’t!), but she’s got it, and now it’s weighing on her—a bloat best counteracted, she’s told, not through abstention but through additional consumption.
On my cassette copy, the entire album plays on both sides—a production convenience, I’m sure, but something I read as a statement about compulsory femininity’s never-ending contortions, its Mobius movements, which twist and turn and flip and reverse, exhausting but never exhaustive.
Pairs well with: A Sunday afternoon TV movie about female mobility intercut with commercials for stain removers.