A negative stereotype-turn-powerful tool for reclaiming sexuality, Emily Shirley’s latest single, Streetlight Glow, is in a league of its own. She utilizes a graphically intriguing, taboo scenario written out and sung with enough conviction to force the scene to play out in your mind – red neon tint and all.
A song that tells a story – one of powerful women in downtrodden situations; mothers who can’t make rent, students with books to buy and struggling professionals – Shirley has ensured that this is not a tale of despair. The character, who can only be described as the protagonist, embodies strength and empowerment within the lyrics, and I can’t help but want to know more about her. This is more than a song, truly I believe that this is a statement – a sharp, somewhat-country call to action, for all women, to be stronger; don’t fuck with us.
A revolutionist for a singer, Emily Shirley is not the norm. She stands out with impressive prowess, and if you don’t believe me then just look at her website. A designer during the day, she’s living a double life that ebbs and flows with sheer creativity; something that shines through with the alternative, and honestly far too often ignored, perspective offered within this story.
Shirley, a Connecticut-native and Austin-living singer-songwriter, takes back ownership of perhaps one of the most detrimental, demeaning words used against women within this song – as if the story itself wasn’t a feat enough. ‘You thievin’, cheatin’ SOB,’ she sings, ‘you messed with the wrong bitch’; for me, this is intrinsic to the feminist nature of the song and it makes me feel powerful.
A song that’s available for download from her site, she asks for a payment of whatever you think it’s worth; an interesting invitation for you to value this, based on what the lyrics mean to you. For me, it’s priceless – an entertaining story and a, perhaps self-imposed, meaning to them ensure that this song will be on repeat in my apartment. I highly recommend you do the same.
Now, you’ll notice I’ve explained very little of the story that the song tells, and that’s simply because it is an experience; you don’t need to read it from me, you need to hear it from her. Check out the track on her website below and share some love.
Author: Megan Matthews