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HEY GALAXY was created in the midst of another project as a result of the current political upheaval in the United States. Gibson was working on an album entirely about love, accompanied by an orchestra, but after the 2016 presidential election they felt moved to put forth a more social justice-oriented project. “There’s a quote that says, ‘Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.’ I wanted to do that. I wanted to make something political and human and gutsy in its revolt. Something beautiful in its sweetness and rage and vulnerability. Some- thing loud and tender at the same time.” HEY GALAXY does just that. The sixteen poems on the album tell the story of our times. Whether it’s “Orlando,” which brutally relives the massacre at at LGBTQ nightclub and Gibson’s own struggles with coming out, or “A Letter to White Queers” which combats white privilege during the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Gibson’s poems awaken us with their urgency, honesty, and their lyrical meld of grit and beauty.
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I nearly wrote the review for this after just the second listen, but I'm relieved I didn't. I needed a few rounds with this to fully appreciate what is happening here. Firstly and most importantly, Gibson's lyrical genius is uncompromised. Whether she is tackling political issues, reflecting on love, or weaving the two together, her ability to turn a phrase or toy with words is unparalleled in the scene. She balances lofty metaphors with the commonplace, and she makes the human experience feel like art. Although the music can be a little intrusive at times, it also does an incredible job setting the mood for each piece, and the argument can be made that it's leveraged to compensate for the body language that an audio recording lacks. And although the production *is* a little two polished, the upside is that it helps listeners hear every word of every piece, and absorb the music of her words--the pop of consonants and the soaring of vowels. When I had more time to marinate on the record, I understood: everything here was deliberate.
Hey Galaxy is sixteen songs deep--lengthy, but brimming with beauty. It's the type of album that will make you emotional--boldly vulnerable, warm and inviting, and human in a way that makes humanity feel perfect in its flawed nature. There are few low moments here. If you are a fan of slam poetry, or if you are the type to zero in on lyrics when listening to music, pick this up.