Siblings Shamik Bilgi and Vivek Shraya’s new record, Angry, is activism at full throttle.
By calling Angry a “celebration of racialized anger,” Too Attached makes the theme of their six-song dance party pointedly plain. If that statement isn’t clear enough for you, then surely the call-out lyrics to “Bare Minimum” will clue you in. Hashtags and tweets are all well and good at raising awareness and reciting platitudes, but the time for passivity has passed: “I lift a finger / I read a book / I list the triggers / I say I’m shook… / I could do so much so much more / But I want a pat on the back for doin’ the bare minimum.”
Like others recently fed up with “thoughts and prayers,” siblings Shamik Bilgi and Vivek Shraya aren’t willing to suppress their voices and silence their rage at the way marginalized people are expected to temper their activism to appease those uncomfortable with the truth. No one gets a pass, no matter if their gay, straight, brown, white, cisgender or trans. “You want me to step up to the mic and say ‘love wins’ or ‘love is love’,” Shraya intones on the intensely personal and profoundly moving “Love Is Not Love”, “But that’s not what I want / Or what I believe / Cause love doesn’t keep my sisters safe / So love alone won’t set us free”.
Love has never been enough to cover the rent, pay for an education, or secure necessary health care for anyone, so why, Too Attached ask, should anyone–let alone LGBTQTS people–be expected to subsist on it? Is it because we should be grateful for finally being recognized as worthy of personhood? They have an answer to that flimsy argument, too, aptly titled “Grateful”. With its tagline mantra “Come into your power,” “Grateful” is a blunt, boldfaced reminder that in all of humankind, no significant shift in a culture’s mindset and attitude ever came about through passivity and politeness.
Classifying the politically charged songs on Angry as protest music would be a knee-jerk reaction, and wrong. They are not. Angry is the sound of activism at full throttle. There’s no ambiguity behind the message, no hidden meaning masquerading as a concept. Like its vivid album cover, Too Attached know full well that Angry is going to get up in a lot of people’s faces, and has the potential to shake up a lot of people’s minds. Bilgi and Shraya (whose gorgeous solo album Part-Time Woman was a consciousness-raising stand-out of 2017) have unleashed one of the most pronounced and electrifying Canadian albums of the past decade; Angry has the potential to shape conversations around racialized and marginalized communities in this country and beyond for years to come.