Self Esteem - Prioritise Pleasure: Unapologetic pop at its finest

Photo: Olivia Richardson
"There are a handful of artists who have nailed the art of witticism to a T, but Taylor is up there."

On her second solo album, 'Prioritise Pleasure', whip-smart Rebecca Lucy Taylor aka Self Esteem, is in her prime, unabashedly herself.

After breaking free of the restraints of her former indie band Slow Club, Self Esteem - whose moniker for her experimental pop project is a nod to the confidence she gained in her early 20s - released her debut solo album, 'Compliments Please', in 2019.

That record was a whopping 16 songs long - relatively unheard of in the age of Spotify - and felt very much like a get-it-off-your-chest brain dump.

Two years later, and Taylor is back with nuanced lyrics and a succinct signature style.

Brooding opener 'I'm Fine' tackles the issue of consent and sexual assault, “there is nothing that terrifies a man more than a woman who appears completely deranged”, a woman says in a spoken-word piece in which she reveals she and her friends bark like dogs whenever they are approached by a group of men.

On 'Fucking Wizardry' a gospel choir provides the backing to Taylor's pent-up frustrations, while the title track follows suit with the choral section embodying the unifying energy among womankind felt throughout, oh, and it also sees Taylor deliver the finest liberating line, “shave my pussy, that’s just for me”.

Taylor does not distract from the sensitive subject matters at hand, and does as she set out to do, "use the palatable nature of pop to Trojan horse in my agenda.”

The overall delivery of the evocative record harks back to Lily Allen's Myspace era 2006 LP, 'Alright, Still', which was littered with simple yet genius, sharp-witted putdowns - there are a handful of artists who have nailed the art of witticism to a T, but Taylor is up there.

After serving up one of our favourite pop songs of the past year, with the album's widely-acclaimed single, ‘I Do This All The Time’, Self Esteem doesn't disappoint, living up to the hype surrounding her eagerly-awaited second solo effort.

Rating: 9.5/10

Release date: 22.10.21