Courtesy of Pitchfork

February 5, 2020

Torres’ “Silver Tongue” is Unmissable

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Dear indie/alternative/funky-or-occasionally-queer-pop fans: it’s time to listen to Torres. Real name Mackenzie Scott, Torres released her fourth studio album “Silver Tongue” on January 31st — Torres’ sound is genuine, poetically observant, intimate and should not be missed.

To first give you some background — Scott’s 2017 album, “Three Futures” is like a more vulnerable, ego-centric and secret St. Vincent album. “Three Futures” is both daring and emotional, with album art displaying Scott manspreading in the middle of a couch as she watches a woman strip. She claims a typically masculine sexual power with lyrics like “I got hard in the parking lot…” and “I am not a righteous woman, I’m more of an ass man.” The power of the album is strengthened in compelling bass sounds and unique melodies.

The new album “Silver Tongue” is not as stunning as “Three Futures,” but Scott’s raw vocal power and emotional resonance still thrive within its 9 songs. The album opens with “Good Scare,” a gut-wrenching song that sounds like it could be on “Three Futures.” I teared up when I first heard “Good Scare”; the repetition of the line “you were eyeing all the exits” reminded me of gradually being dumped last year. The song also gets a little country, but not before Scott can warn us. She sings that her lover makes her “want to write a country song folks here in New York get a kick out of.”

A woman singing that she thinks about “knocking you up under Tennessee stars in the bed of my red Chevrolet pickup” is a power move. Country vibes are being claimed by queer artists, and I love it. Orville Peck’s whole gag is homoerotic Western expansion and sunsets, and Lil Nas X’s unapologetic queerness proves there is a space for LGBTQ people in country music.

Being a cowboy isn’t quite a part of Torres’ look, but her allusions to male country culture add to the sexual power in her music.

“Dressing America” also dips its toe into pseudo-country music themes. “I tend to sleep with my boots on,” Scott explains “should I need to gallop over dark water to you on short notice.” This line resonated with me, as I have often considered hopping out of my dorm room at ungodly hours for romantic connection. “Dressing America” is not just about this hot-headed love, but about commitment, as it beautifully lists intimate observations of a lover.

The stripped-down aesthetic of the song “Gracious Day” sent me down an emotional rabbit hole. “I don’t want you going home anymore, I want you coming home.” The song seems to be about two people moving in together; it has the sound of Scott serenading her lover in their living room — soft and loving.

The album is like a strange book of poems, I concluded as I reached the end of the album. “My mother told me every breath holds the power of life and death,” opens the album’s last song, which shares the name of the album. The song is somewhat cryptic, like a poem your high school English teacher would love to unpack. The effects given to Scott’s voice on this track are reminiscent of Lorde’s deep, witchy voice.

I recommend the album for an hour that you have free — let yourself be haunted by thoughts of lovers a little. Oh, and if you agree with me, go to The Haunt on May 14th — Torres will be there!

 

Emma Plowe is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at eplowe@cornellsun.com.