Album Review: Pussy Riot – xxx

By Carly Preston, Contributor

[Big Deal; 2016]

Rating: 6.5/10

Key Tracks: “Organs”

The newest release from notorious feminist punk band, Pussy Riot, makes a fiery statement just in time for the U.S. Election Day. xxx is a three track long EP by the Russian-girl group, consisting of approximately 11 members.

Pussy Riot has a history of being more politically charged than musically based; having dealt with extreme persecution from the Russian government for their lyrics and public performances, in which they fully support both LGBT and women’s rights. Despite many members being imprisoned and facing extreme backlash from the Putin regime, the group continues to produce provocative and progressive material. xxx is no exception to this. While the album may not be doing anything revolutionary musically, lyrically, xxx is clever and scathing.

xxx begins with the song “Make America Great Again,” a song named after Donald Trump‘s infamous campaign slogan. The song is a direct dig at the real estate mogul’s controversial run for president. With lyrics like: “Let other people in / Listen to your women / Stop killing black children /  Make America great again” juxtaposed over a light and simple guitar riff, the song cleverly destroys Mr. Trump. Despite the lyrics, the song takes on a sound not typically seen by the group-a more fun and humble sound.

Next, “Straight Outta Vagina” follows as an electronic and dance-y break. The lyrics here are intended to show the importance in which “vaginas,” or woman, will have when voting this November. While the feminist ideals are appreciated here, it is extremely important to note that a vagina is not necessary to be considered a female voter. That said, the rest of the song musically appears weak and extremely reductive. The rapping break came out of nowhere and seemed like a strange interlude throughout the bubblegum pop sound. Even with its upbeat nature, the song is a dent in the middle throughout xxx.

Finally, the EP closes with “Organs,” a simple yet edgy track featuring fast repetitive vocals and an eerie hymn-like backing. With a lone violin interlude and lyrics in Russian highlighting women’s sexuality and militarization-this song definitely closes the album strong. The line: “[translated] Female orgasm faces obstacles / My strap-ons are being replaced with uniforms and icons / Shitfaced parliament bans condoms” stands out as one of the more clear and aggressive lyrics.

Overall, the album has its faults, especially instrumentally. However, the goal of xxx wasn’t exactly to break music boundaries, rather to induce a conversation both in America and globally about the current political climate. Such purpose was made clear and only xxx anticipates listeners for what is next to come from Pussy Riot.

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