Music

Wild Beasts - "Alpha Female" (Singles Going Steady)

The freedom of the women cuts through the whole video with clean energy and confidence that lifts spirits and is undeniable.

Morgan Y. Evans: I dig how catchy this is as a woman supportive anthem from a bunch of skinny British dudes. It makes you want to dance hard and high five all the cool, strong women you know. A lot of times depth has a hard time co-existing with groove and hooks unless you find a sweet spot. I mean, that is why some songs can be pure shit lyrically, but you still feel compelled to move your ass. "Alpha Female" reminds me of Radiohead and White Lies a little bit paired with the sort of relevant current events video aesthetic and sense of watching lives revealed through a camera lens that you get from M.I.A., for example.

I never listened to this band much and want to check out more now. The skateboarding scenes are fantastic, the colors and settings captivate, and the important messages are clearly stated without it being at the expense of any of the other elements. I'll add that I think Gaga pulled off a similar thing at the Super Bowl, trolling Trump supporters by singing Woody Guthrie, who hated fascists and Trump's dad. And she had a huge pro-LGBTQ and #NoBanNoWalls vibe that was right in your face yet presented in a way so that any criticism or "Satanic Ritual" accusations from the right would look like sour grapes/very petty. Similarly, in this Wild Beasts clip, you can feel the male gaze palpable, and there is an uncertainty of who has deeply judged the women or not, but the freedom of the women cuts through the whole video with clean energy and confidence that lifts spirits and is undeniable. [8/10]

Mike Schiller: Here's a rare occasion where venturing into the YouTube comments can enhance one's appreciation for a video. Director Sasha Rainbow took to the comments to offer counterpoint to a dismissive-but-polite response that questioned the significance of filming in Bangalore and the wisdom of using skateboarding as a signifier of "alpha". Rainbow explains that these girls and women are heroes to so many in their city and country simply for taking on an activity that would be forbidden to most of their gender. Wild Beasts, for their part, offer some properly supportive aural wallpaper with a fun fuzz-synth solo toward the end, but it's truly the visuals here -- and the freedom, the agency those visuals represent -- that shine. [7/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: It's always a little suspect when men write songs that put women on pedestals -- especially when they use the word “female” -- but there's no denying that “Alpha Female” has a strong beat and gorgeous, dirty synths that make it a song easy to dance along to. It's a shame the lyrics are so hard to overlook. [4/10]

Chris Ingalls: Once again, Wild Beasts foist another leering, sexy dance track on the world. The complex-yet-minimalist beat works well with the big, sexy retro synthesizers and the lecherous vocalizing. A nice, sweaty indie-synth workout. [7/10]

Andrew Paschal: The vocals on "Alpha Female" have a peculiar sense of urgency and heat to them, given that the song's main aim is to hang back and let a badass woman run the show (extra peculiar coming from an album called Boy King). A taut, tense rock song with the faintest trace of a disco undercurrent, "Alpha Female" is good, but it loses steam as it chugs along repetitively. [6/10]

Chris Pittaway: Saved from generic indie-rock territory by its big sound and meaty electro passages, "Alpha Female" slinks along menacingly with a nocturnal groove and restrained vocal performance. Kind of like Muse, but without the delusions of grandeur. [7/10]

SCORE: 6.50

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