Last October a video hit YouTube and absolutely exploded. I intended to do a writeup about it back then but life was busy at the time and I just didn’t get around to it. The video was a single from the debut of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis‘s first full-length album, The Heist. It’s one of the best albums I’ve heard in a good while.
The video is titled, “Same Love,” and is about the experiences Macklemore, Ben Haggerty, encountered in his life in regards to homosexuality and how it has shaped his beliefs on equality. The song is amazing, giving me chills running across my arms as I remember back to scenes in the video.
Macklemore explained that the song also came out of his own frustration with hip hop’s positions on homosexuality. “Misogyny and homophobia are the two acceptable means of oppression in hip hop culture. It’s 2012. There needs to be some accountability. I think that as a society we’re evolving and I think that hip hop has always been a representation of what’s going on in the world right now.” Wiki
In the song you hear an incredible female vocalist named Mary Lambert. She is to me the Adele of America. Not just because they have a similar look but because their lyrics and voice are magnificently emotive and powerful. They sing from the heart, from their real-life experiences. They are each beautiful in their own right but it’s their powerful storytelling that stole my attention.
Mary Lambert is a Seattle local, singer-songwriter and spoken-word artist. Her songs are known to tackle women’s issues and speak to a level of honesty and depth that few of her contemporaries have ever explored. Her songs remind me of those by Antony and the Johnsons without the orchestral flourishes. Go check them out as well.
The fourth song on her EP, Letters Don’t Talk, delves into the complicated life experiences far too many women, and men, suffer, focusing primarily on body issues and self-worth. As someone afflicted with body-image issues, not to mention a witness to the experiences shared by female friends of mine, Body Love spoke to me more so than any other on her album.
Mary Lambert is good at two things; crying and singing. Nowhere is this better reflected than on her debut EP ‘letters don’t talk’ released in July of 2012. Burrowed away with her friends in the woods of Sequim, Washington recording with the production team of Dungeness, she spent 2 years finessing the heartbreaking collection of songs. In ‘letters don’t talk’, Lambert has carved a niche for herself, winding profound lyricism around breathy, haunting melodies.
Her music should be required listening by anyone working on a Women and Gender Studies degree. She manages to eloquently speak on difficult social issues, dripping with poignant prose and inspirational declarations, without coming off like an unapologetic, angry feminist. There isn’t listening session of her album that doesn’t provoke a worthy tear from my eyes. I read in a review of one of her shows that crying is encouraged during her performances. Well hello there Brandi Carlile!
My only complaint would have to be that it’s only an EP and five songs just isn’t enough for me. I am forever thankful Macklemore and Ryan Lewis chose to feature this amazing artist on their debut album. On the other hand, maybe I have Mary Lambert to thank for the success of Same Love, and the album as a whole, for it was Mary Lambert’s song, She Keeps me Warm, that is featured in their’s. And it is by no coincidence that Mary Lambert is an openly gay singer.
I recommend you check out Mary Lambert’s EP, Letters Don’t Talk. You can find it on Bandcamp at a name your own price scheme as well as on iTunes and Amazon MP3. I bought my copy on iTunes and if you could wear out digital files like you could cassettes, I’d be on my second or third copy by now.
I also recommend you check out the photography of Lauren Colton. She is also from Seattle and as far as I can guess, a fellow artist friend of Mary Lambert as she is credited with the images seen in this post. Her Flickr stream is full of beautiful film and digital shots. Unfortunately her website hasn’t been built, though she does own her domain.
If you’re reading this, Lauren, and want help building a photography site, let me know. I’d love to help you out!
Nice to know I wasn’t the only one who had that reaction to Lambert’s vocals on “Same Love”. I’ll have to check out the EP!
Michael M Yay! Always happy to share interests. I promise you won’t be disappointed with her EP. I’d love to her her live but it seems she doesn’t have anything scheduled out right now. Wonder how I can get her to San Francisco haha.
The Heist is a fantastic album as a whole as well. Back in high school I fell in love with intelligent rap music. Rap, unlike most music in general, doesn’t rely on catchy choruses and addictive instrumentals. So often their words have to stand on their own which is something Macklemore showcases (in addition to having great music and choruses). I have my friend Joseph to thank for my collection of intelligent, thought provoking rap music.