Review by Molly McKew
Quintessential Doll was originally a classically trained artist from Brisbane, but it seems the whole “classical thing” didn’t stick; instead the singer found her calling in eclectic pop-electronica. This new offering is testament to her musical sensibility and artistic independence: the multi-instrumentalist has written, arranged, recorded, and even choreographed the video for her anthemic new track, Savage, which was released October 10th.
The track is ambitious; it tackles tensions surrounding beauty, feminism, self-love, and the media. “I wrote this song because I was feeling frustrated by the pressures placed on women (myself included) to conform to society’s expectations,” says the singer.
The lyrics convey the artist’s fury at battling gendered societal expectations of beauty, purity, and good behaviour, balancing the desire to fit in with retaining individuality and a strong sense of self: “I’ve been guilty of trying to fit into the mould other people have set for me, despite feeling uncomfortable when I did,” the artist says.
The artist succeeds in creating a powerful and direct track that repeats the mantra, “my mad beauty will never be yours.” This beauty, as she describes, is “each individual’s imperfection and uniqueness—individual traits are what make us beautiful as humans.”
The track is musically rich—chaos interspersed with moments of calm, and with an underlying darkness. With its strong drive and melodic hook though, it feels at its heart optimistic. The vibe of Quintessential Doll is somewhere in the realm of Grimes and FKA twigs, though the singer is no stranger to an acoustic instrument (she played every instrument on the track!).
Her sound is fresh and the message an important one in a media landscape where women’s appearance and behaviour is, to this day, scrutinised at every turn. Quintessential Doll has something to say, and her creative drive and commitment to independent artistry make her one to watch.