Music

Lily DeTaeye Addresses the #MeToo Movement on "Shoulda Known Better" (premiere)

Photo: Parker Wolfe

The soulful singer-songwriter's latest uses fairytale characters to highlight sexual assault and society's tendency to blame the victim.

In her fittingly-titled The E.P., Lily DeTaeye follows in the footsteps of artists such as Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. The precocious pianist and singer-songwriter performs with a maturity and depth that one might not suspect from a 19-year-old playing what seems mostly like sprightly pop music from its outermost shell. There are warmth and wisdom in her music that envelopes listener's interest and keeps them lingering within moments of the first notes played. The music she makes even, at times, harrowing reminders that the world around us still has much to learn.

Such is the case with "Shoulda Known Better". With a shallow first listen, its chipper arrangement and DeTaeye's soulful, honey-smooth vocals will draw you in. Give it more of your ear, however, and the message that she's woven so delicately, yet so frankly into her work will hold your full attention. It's a song that addresses society's ability to blame the victim in sexual assault cases all-too-often, and she dishes this message out through allegorically referring to a classic fairytale. The song's accompanying music video pans between DeTaeye's performance and shots of an innocent child wandering through the woods, accentuating this powerful statement that much more.

"I got to college and I started meeting all of these people that have gone through a lot of different experiences than I have, and I met a lot of women that had been survivors of sexual assault or domestic abuse and all of these things and combining all of their experiences together," says DeTaeye. "I learned that it's a common theme for people to tell women that are survivors that maybe they could have done something to prevent it or they should have known better than to put themselves in a situation that would get them hurt."

"And it seemed really backward to me, and it was hard to hear people who I know, people who I love, go through that and be told that they were the one who should have done something. So I wrote 'Shoulda Known Better', and I used fairytale characters to show how we tend to blame Red Riding Hood for going into the woods and not the wolf for being a wolf."


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