Isabella James - Climbing Mt. Zion
Jun 29, 2020 (updated Jun 29, 2020)
97
Unda5 11

Apparently Isabella is on the site right now..... please notice me I love your music so much.

This music is honestly a great Voight-Kampff test, if you DON'T break down crying at "My Deadname Will Be On My Grave" then congratulations! You're cis!

Isabella's music is pure pain, distilled, brewed, and shipped out. First off, I understand the complaints that the vocals are badly mixed, and on "it's scary being born" and "hold me like a pipe" I can kinda understand how that's distracting. But....the vocals are why I love this. Just like Daniel Johnston and The Raincoats and other great outsider music of the past. When Isabella sings she belts her heart out in a chorus of electronic blips and mashes as if her vocal cords are being ripped out as she sings. This just adds to this feeling of pain, as if her body is literally crushing her throat but she powers through it emerging victorious like a pheonix with crimson wings.

The "climbing a mountain" metaphor is easily displayed in the title but it's more than just a simple trek up a mountain, it's more than just a goal you're attempting to reach. It's the type of walk where you're just emotionless, stumbling and trying to find a purpose in your life. It reminds me of when I tried to come out to my mom and nothing came of it. I just walked miles on a scolding beach just seeing how far I could go. No purpose, no plans, just.... punishing your body for no reason. Like if you make it to the top of the mountain, the end of the beach you would see something beautiful, something that will change your life. But what is there to see? What could possibly be on top of that mountain that can kill your depression, your dysphoria, anything. And I think the answer is, nothing. And that's the point, you've made it to the top and you see there's nothing that you can't do. When you climb that mountain you realize that you're powerful, and that power is what will allow you to be happy, that power is what will finally make you happy.

This is one of the best lo-fi, folk, singer songwriter albs ever made by the way. The calls to jesus reminiscent of ITAOTS and the guitar on "my deadname" remenicent if the Glow. I love those guitars FUCK YES. Is there mistakes? Sure, I think Isabella kinda talk-raps at one point and like, it's a lil cringe. But it doesn't really matter in the face of some of the greatest production choices I have EVER heard.

I am very openly trans online, it's not a secret to anyone. But it's not something I ever really like to talk about in length. Yeah I'll make jokes, and yeah I'll talk about punching transphobes in the teeth, but I never talk about how it makes me feel. Simply because I just don't think it's explainable. The cosmic complexities I feel about myself and my body is just... unexplainable with words. The fear and the guilt and the pain. There is a LOT of fucking pain.

But Isabella does it. She doesn't it miraculously. I listen to a lot of trans artists yes, but Isabella is the only one who when I heard I broke down crying and said "Holy shit. This is me. Holy fucking shit. She's talking about me." I have never, emotionally connected on such a personal level, than I have with this album. Isabella has made music that just makes me feel, incredible. Happy to be alive, happy to connect with other people, happy that music exists, just...happy.

Do I expect other people to have this exspirece. Probably not. It's probably way to neiche and personal to even begin with. I planned to write this review as a simple discussion about how grand I think this album is, but I'm pretty sure it's turned into a letter of admiration.

God bless you Isabella James, god bless you for making one of the greatest works of art I've ever had the pleasure of connecting to.
3 Comments
Jun 29, 2020
People like you are who I made this album for. <3 stay safe love.
Jun 30, 2020
This is genuinely one of the greatest reviews ever put on this website.
Jun 30, 2020
Luv ya Toast <3
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