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‘Silk Chiffon’ Review: Queer Euphoria Saves Generic Pop

Single cover for MUNA and Phoebe Bridgers' "Silk Chiffon."
Single cover for MUNA and Phoebe Bridgers' "Silk Chiffon." By Courtesy of MUNA and Phoebe Bridgers / Dead Oceans
By Nina M. Foster, Crimson Staff Writer

On Sept. 7, MUNA released “Silk Chiffon,” the band’s first single after signing to Phoebe Bridgers’ label, Saddest Factory Records. To mark the occasion, Bridgers features on the record, branching out of her traditionally soft, indie roots into a lighthearted and dance-worthy style. The collaboration of these artists, both beloved by the queer community, has added an undeniably catchy song to the growing list of queer anthems.

MUNA, an openly queer group, has never shied away from writing about gender and sexuality. “I Know a Place,” for instance, is about creating safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Where “Silk Chiffon” differs from the band’s prior discography is in its sense of pure elation. Everything is kept light and fun — “like silk chiffon,” as each pre-chorus ends. Rarely are queer relationships presented in art, whether musical, visual, or otherwise, without homophobic forces of resistance. This single contains no mention of homophobia, violence, or shame. Instead, MUNA and Bridgers brilliantly capture the pleasure of intimacy and the joy of embracing one’s identity without guilt.

Few might expect the diverse styles of Bridgers and MUNA to work well together. MUNA is known for their big sound, rooted in powerful bass and elaborate electronic backgrounds. In contrast, Bridgers is known for her delicate, airy tone. And yet, the two manage to blend beautifully on “Silk Chiffon.” MUNA dials back slightly while Bridgers leaps out of her comfort zone and into the euphoric single. The vocals transition smoothly between lead singer Katie Gavin and Bridgers as they alternate verses, uniting to create bright harmonies in the chorus.

The instrumentals of “Silk Chiffon” aren’t unique, falling into the generic sound of bubblegum pop with a steady beat and synthesized instruments — which isn’t necessarily bad. Regardless, the song’s simple yet sensual lyrics more than compensate for its lack of musical originality. Listeners are invited to an intimate moment between two women, with lyrics like “that’s how it feels, oh, when she’s on me.” And what could possibly be more carefree than someone rollerblading against the colorful sky with a tote bag slung over their shoulder? “Got my mini skirt and my rollerblades on / Bag on my side 'cause I'm out 'til dawn,” Gavin and Bridgers sing.

“Silk Chiffon” is a collaborative success that triumphantly represents the queer community. The single is sure to be on the setlist of Bridgers’ North American tour, where MUNA will be opening for some of the shows.

— Staff writer Nina M. Foster can be reached at nina.foster@thecrimson.com.

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