Album Review: Austra’s “Future Politics” Is A Call For Social Empathy

Austra’s Future Politics brings an eerie sense of sophistication as she envisions a colder future that can only be combatted with the warmth of the human spirit. She intelligently uses synth pop to show that if we keep on acting like machines, we will fail to experience what is humanity, of which she shows through her lyrics and vocal prowess. The message is kind, welcoming, and ironic as the album is set to be released the day of Trump’s inauguration. 

Future Politics is clearly an analysis on love’s sister: compassion. Whether it is the compassion we need for ourselves “I’m A Monster” or the compassion we show to others “I Love You More Than You Love Yourself”, Austra’s new album is exceptional, in part, because it is about another aspect of love rarely touched upon: empathy. The kindness and understanding you wish from others should, first, be shown to them, which is not easy do. As seen in tracks such as “Utopia” and “Beyond A Mortal”, Austra lyrically ponders over the dangers of people distancing themselves from each other or their own humanity but also sees the hardship of getting close to another. It is not easy to be the change you wish to see and may not feel as rewarding in the face of rejection, but in songs like “Freepower” and “Angel In Your Eye”, Austra furthers the argument that compassion is a sign of courage because you always need to be brave to be the first. It is in this notion that Future Politics does not feel as much a discussion about the future of politics but rather its present. Now more than ever people feel socially isolated from their country, government, and even their neighbor, which means now more than ever people need to be the first to extend their hand in friendship and love rather than waiting for others. 

The eeriness of Austra’s Future Politics is that it is now.This album is ripe with current, social reflection, of which Austra delivers with electro poesy. The way her words meet the electric vortex of her sound is magnificent. It is as if your ears have fallen into a whirlpool of flashing news reels and human thoughts. Austra herself has a voice that appears like a spirit searching for light; she is both fragile and mystical all at once. She plays with her vocal range to capture the fruitfulness and futility of humanity’s moral struggles, which means she is fearless in her playfulness. If she has to yelp in agony or whisper a note in desperation, she will do it, and it makes sense. Reaching for light in darkness can feel supernatural in both spirit and vulnerability. Thus, as a singer, Austra shows that prowess is not about hitting notes as much as striking emotions, which Future Politics does. Its composition is inspired by 80’s techno-pop, which explains why songs like “Gaia” and “Future Politics” will make you want grab some rouge, put on a neon shoulder-padded blazer. and dance under strobe lights. Yet, it is hard to want to give in fully to the amazing, “old-school” techno of Future Politics because of the breezed ease of Austra’s voice upon her thoughtful lyrics.

When you hear wisdom, it strikes you like a vision. You do not know if you want to dance, stand still, or leave from the rapid waterfall of emotions you feel. In many ways, that is what Austra’s Future Politics makes me feel. It has so many wonderful layers to enjoy: themes, lyrics, vocals, and arrangements. Yet, the one I relish most is its virtues. In a time where compassion is exalted for “show” but not truly shown, Austra has committed an action that attests to her belief in empathy: she made music. Moreover, she made a really good album. For More Information On Austra and to Buy Further Politics On January 20 Click Here.