Singer-songwriter Natalie Prass lets us know the revolution will be danced | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Singer-songwriter Natalie Prass lets us know the revolution will be danced 

click to enlarge Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass

Tonje Thilesen

“Keep your sisters close/ You gotta keep your sisters close,” backup singers breathe into the retro-90s R&B chorus on Natalie Prass' "Sisters." In line with the title of her new album, The Future and the Past, the Virginia singer-songwriter couches her up-to-the-minute anti-Trump feminism in sounds inspired by the music of an earlier era. The album is swathed in 80s Janet Jackson-style beats and Mariah Carey-quality hooks, summoning the spirit of iconic pop divas to help us boogie and twirl in the face of the rolling political apocalypse. “Sing out your voices / This kind of noise is / One that rejoices, yeah/ Stand like a rock/ I am the sources of / My body’s choices,” she declares over robotic early-80s disco swagger on “Ain’t Nobody.” Preserving the music you love and preserving women’s rights are treated as synonymous, and though folks on the left sometimes denounce pop culture as shallow and nostalgia as regressive, for Prass silly pop is a salve and an inspiration, and the dance floor remains a place of joy, inclusion, and community. On The Future and the Past, Prass shows that history can be a resource, and that the right song can be a call to arms.   v

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