The Fight Within

by Jim Di Gioia

December 4, 2017

Iskwé engages in poignant, compelling internal and external conversations on The Fight Within.


There’s no denying that Iskwé’s latest full length is a politically charged release driven by electro beats and the Cree/Métis/European-descended artist’s immersive, committed performance. But for all its extroverted tendencies, Iskwé has chosen to name the album The Fight Within, suggesting there’s just as much inner struggle and strife as there is external, whether for her individually or for the indigenous community as a whole.

That inner dialogue is most resonant on “Will I See”. The song is a stirring dialogue between the singer and the multitude of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. Iskwé says the song came to her immediately following a solidarity walk in Winnipeg that travelled the distance from where Tina Fontaine’s body was discovered to the monument for missing and murdered women in Winnipeg. “Nobody Knows” is ferocious and steadfast in its resolve: “I won’t let you look away anymore,” she sings and snarls, a double-edged statement. It is part promise, part threat.

By the time The Fight Within closes with “Say It Sweet”, Iskwé engages in the album’s most poignant conversation. “Say you love me for me,” she sings, “Say that you’ll be there for me”. Another pledge and vow that not one life will have been lost in vain, and that the sins of the past won’t soon be forgotten.

Jim Di Gioia

Jim founded the music blog Quick Before It Melts in 2006 and was its principal writer until 2016, when its decade-long run ended 10 years to the day it started. DOMINIONATED is its spiritual successor. Jim currently serves as a Polaris Music Prize jurist and Prism Prize jurist.
Jim Di Gioia

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