Sophie Strauss Reclaims Power Over Her Femininity With Her New Album HARD STUDY Out Today

Sophie Strauss Reclaims Power Over Her Femininity With Her New Album HARD STUDY Out Today

LA native Sophie Strauss reclaims power over her identity, femininity, and toxic masculinity with her debut album, Hard Study, out today! Strauss is solidifying her narrative of being a shameless woman in a male-dominated world. She is honest, pure, and unapologetic.

The album begins with a melodic whimper drawn out of the 2016 Presidential election. "Drive Down, Mama" is the compilation of Strauss's emotions: the frustration, the sadness, and the fear of the oncoming, uncertain shift in politics. It's an eerie prelude for a pop album, using Strauss's smoky, rigid vocals over intricate instrumentals. "Drive Down Mama" isn't the calm before the storm, but the moment during when it breaks for only a second. And you know it's only just begun.

Strauss plays with her dyads. Delicate, yet harsh. Lush, yet rigid. Womanhood, in
Strauss's opinion, isn't the sacrifice of either. Strauss and her music revel in the juxtaposition of being both. As fearless as she is vulnerable, Strauss has manifested femininity in its many contradictions and the acceptance of it all.

As a pop artist, Strauss doesn't shy from singing love songs. But they aren't traditional love songs. "Aphids" is a song that rejects forgiving male violence and dominance. Strauss doesn't soften or romanticise these men, but tells them bluntly, "You hit me and it felt like shit." Her song "Dog Fight" is the rejection of the dreamgirl image that too many men project onto their lovers. Knowing she's going to disappoint these men, Strauss doesn't care and she's not looking to stop pursuing it either. Choosing for her own pleasure and gain is Strauss's redemption against submission.

Hard Study is an exploration of all the spaces in between the headlines of what we're told it should mean to be a woman. It isn't always confident and fearless, it's honest. In "I Was," Strauss is a young girl compromised by her romantic feelings towards one of her friends. The song is juvenile and reflective, the memories of youth with the edge of adulthood realization. "It's about being so close to your girl friends, feeling like sisters or maybe you're in love with them or maybe you're not but the intimacy of being a kid and the way you play together is so tender and charged...It's really hard to parse out where platonic feelings ended and romantic ones began," Strauss said.

If one thing is clear with Hard Study, it's that Strauss knows herself. She knows who she is as a modern, queer woman and what that means in today's ever-politicised world. Strauss goes deep into the nooks and crannies of toxic masculinity, finding the little places we forget it exists, even thrives, and exposes them. But in the end, Hard Study isn't ever really about men at all; it's a love letter to the women existing despite them.

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