Haley Heynderickx’s music challenges listeners to find empowerment from individuality and mold religious beliefs to reflect identity. Her track “Untitled God Song” objects to the single representation of God as white, male, and geriatric. With quiet strength, Heynderickx admonishes the acceptance of a constructed and marginalizing higher power.
Heynderickx’s image of God takes several forms including one that “has a trot in her walk / And her coach bags are knock-off / Her shoes are all dressed up.” Heynderickx evokes the power of womanhood and centralizes femininity as part of religious doctrines. However, the reference to materialism is not glorifying westernized standards of beauty. Rather, Heynderickx subverts dominant beauty standards as her God has “thick hips and big lips”. Essentially, Heynderickx suggests that God must reflect an individual’s standpoint.
Popular culture has seen images of a female God before. Kevin Smith’s 1999 film Dogma featured Alanis Morissette as God while William P. Young’s novel The Shack depicts God as an African-American woman. Just last month, Ariana Grande released the single “God Is a Woman” demarcating her understanding of a female-centric entity. What these sentiments exhibit, and Heynderickx masterfully expands upon, is the demand to problematize the holy imagery that is considered untouchable, absolute, and androcentric.
Heynderickx creates an unequivocally immersive track that’s guaranteed to “spin [listeners] around like a marionette”. “Untitled God Song” is from I Need to Start a Garden.