In less than a year, I went from first listening to Grace Petrie’s delightfully queer folk music on YouTube to creating a Bandcamp account specifically to pre-order her latest album, Connectivity. It had been years since I last bought music – I tend to rely on the free versions of Spotify and YouTube for anything not loaded on the iPod I had in. 2013 – but Petrie quickly became my favorite artist, and I wanted to support the first album she released since I got into her music. Having had it for quite some time now (it was released on October 4th in Britain meaning I first heard it before I went to bed on October 3rd in Minneapolis) I can definitely say that this is one of the best buys of any kind that I have. have been doing it for a while.
Petrie’s music comes in many flavors: she has a lot of songs about languor, love, and breakups, like most artists, but she also has a lot of songs about politics, homosexuality, and music. As much as I love his relationship songs (and I certainly do), his political songs tend to be my favorite. She is an unashamed leftist who regularly criticizes the UK government, where she lives, sometimes becoming more specific than I can really keep up with, but unfortunately a lot of issues cross the pond – I can often relate to his songs decrying conservative economic policies and bigotry against the queer community, among other topics.
That said, the songs on Connectivity prove to be more difficult for me to fit perfectly into boxes than his songs that I have known from previous albums. It’s an introspective album, but not in a way that makes it self-conscious. Rather, Petrie uses her own experiences, such as writing love songs (“No Woman Ever Wants to Be a Muse”) and making her debut in the music business (“We’ve Got an Office in Hackney”) the way women and “outsiders” are treated (and often exploited), especially by the music industry.
The album is packed with highlights, ranging from big band sounds on tracks like “Great Central Way” and “The Last Man on Earth” to an utterly impressive and intimate a cappella performance on “Galway”. Overall, I tend to prefer the energetic Petrie songs, and these are mostly focused on the first two-thirds of the album, but my favorite is the very last track, “The Losing Side”. It’s not as sad as the title suggests; it’s about how, even if the causes of justice and equality do not win during Petrie’s lifetime, she is convinced they will eventually come out victorious. I try to sing along with the chorus, but I tend to choke on it at the end, because (as usual) it gives me the hope and fire I need to keep the fight going.
Petrie’s music isn’t for everyone, and honestly, I think I would like it a lot less if it were. She doesn’t try to please everyone at the expense of being true to herself, and it shows. You will probably enjoy his music the most if you share his leftist politics and can relate to his experiences as a queer person, and it would help if you like folk music. If that’s you, then this album is Absolutely worth listening to.
Connectivity is available for purchase on Bandcamp and Apple Music. Most of the album is currently not available on Spotify.