'Prioritise Pleasure' is the second album from Self Esteem, aka Rebecca Taylor, and follows her 2019 debut, 'Compliments Please'. With 'Prioritise Pleasure', Taylor shines as the truly unique alternative popstar that she is. Her vocals are distinctive and, furthermore, she is willing to tackle difficult topics such as consent, while also focusing on self-love, throughout the album.
Opener 'I'm Fine', with its dark and heavy beats, sees Taylor almost snarling and full of simmering anger and frustration. A woman can be heard speaking towards the end of the track,“It sounds so stupid, but me and my friends…if we are approached by a group of men, we will bark like dogs…there is nothing that terrifies a man more than a woman who appears completely deranged.” This sets the tone for the rest of the album.
'F*cking Wizardry' is an infectious track. Definitely one to turn up loud! Taylor's style is often direct and sensual. Her tracks are empowering and uplifting. The title track is a reminder to herself to always put herself first and, therefore, become a better person in the process. Her songs make it clear that this isn't always an easy journey. 'Prioritise Pleasure' features the lyrics "So I'm breathing in / One, two, three / Prioritise, pleasuring me". She sings about wanting to live in the moment.
Inspired by the iconic Baz Lurrhman track, 'Sunscreen' Taylor set about creating a "'Sunscreen' for millennials". 'I Do This All The Time' is an honest, spoken word track which - again - is empowering ("Look up, lean back, be strong / You didn't think you'd live this long"). 'I Do This All The Time' is a highlight of the album with its highly relatable yet brave lyrics. It's so emotionally raw that it can be difficult to listen to, but brilliant nonetheless.
The anthemic funk-pop 'Moody' is another track about self-sabotaging habits. 'The 345' is what we imagine Christina Aguilera's 'Beautiful' might have sounded like if it had been written in 2021. Taylor's lyrics centre around negative self talk, but also persevering through difficult times. 'How Can I Help You' tackles the objectification of women (“How can I help you/ Do what it is that you/ Always hoped you could set out to prove?...Cos that’s what I’m put here to do/ Isn’t it?”).
'Prioritise Pleasure' is a strong offering with inspiring, soul-searching songs. The songs range from pop hits to serene tracks and Taylor shows that she can do it all with this second album. Self-acceptance is a major theme of this bold album and her complicated emotions can be felt by listeners in this stand-out album from Self Esteem.
Words: Narzra Ahmed
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