I’m Not Your Man, the second album from British darling Marika Hackman, is masterful, compelling, and undeniably sexy.
While her debut album, We Slept at Last, was minimalist in nature, content to couch itself in the distance of mythic and animal imagery, I’m Not Your Man takes a more personal approach. At turns playful and raw, it examines the arc of relationships, and of desire. Across both albums remain Hackman’s wit, dexterity with words, and rapt attention to the hauntings and haranguings of being in the world.
The album opens with a laugh, literally and metaphorically. “Boyfriend” is a bitingly brilliant tear down of men’s dismissal of lesbian relationships. The ’90s alt-rock vibes bring a punch of fun to the sardonic lyrics. With one line, “Boyfriend” also hints at themes of passion and conflict explored throughout the album: “Goodness knows we’re meant to be / but it’s turned into a mess.”
Between being backed by the female fronted band The Big Moon, and lyrics that focus on the body and empowerment, this album oozes girl power. On the uber sensual track “Violet,” the repetition of “I love your mouth” and the frank, if sometimes abstract, descriptions of sex are unabashed – refreshingly so. Much like how I’m Not Your Man was intended as a radical departure from her previous work, in the raucous “Good Intentions,” Hackman demands her own space, and her own definition: “Don’t fill me up, I really like my outline”.
Another standout track is the quiet yet combustible “Cigarette,” which somewhat returns to the “folk” tenor of We Slept at Last. Hackman deftly describes an argument amidst the swirl of a volatile intimacy: “I tried to hold my tongue / but you yanked it from my grip / bathed it in petroleum / lit a cigarette and gave it a kiss.” The striking “I’d Rather Be With Them” also returns to certain sparseness, diving deep into the brutal honesty of self-reflection amidst a break-up.
Over the fifteen-track effort, only a few songs don’t quite lift off; on the whole, it is an impressive addition to Marika Hackman’s repertoire and an exciting departure for her sound. Out now via Sub Pop, it is also available for listening on Spotify.