Edge Petal Burn: The Chaotic Depth Of Olivia West

(Photo by Kit Castagne)

Despite art being open to endless interpretation, I feel fiercely protective over the way Edge Petal Burn’s Glass Cannon is received by people. I am anxious about the mainstream’s habit of putting finality and forgiveness on narratives involving trauma against marginalized people, without the consent of the artist who was traumatized in the first place. And frankly, I don’t want Glass Cannon to be about making clean peace with the people that fucked you over because that narrative is never not shoved down survivors’ throats. Instead, Edge Petal Burn offers us an invitation to heal unattractively.

Glass Cannon is about the clarity of realizing who damaged us, the shit we wish we had said to our tormentors in the moment, and the mostly-disorienting, but occasionally-victorious, aftermath of suffering that is survival. The project, driven by the ears, words, voice, and experiences of Olivia West, is a reclamation that in no way claims to be solved.

This incompleteness is clear from the first mind-bending track, Letters, in which West bleeds,

“Months ago is still fresh in my mind. Weeks ago is not a different time.”

What a powerful invitation West grants to trauma survivors here, especially women and non-binary folks, who are made to feel as though their pain is just petty drama, to still allow themselves time and space to be angry about what happened to them.
In Emo, West threatens,

“But I can pull your card if I want to / I can wrestle around and then haunt you for what you’ve done,”

then shifts into a stunning, human breakdown that lands on the line,

“But I don’t know why someone would treat the one they love this way.”

West obliterates the psycho bitch narrative the world keeps trying to put on her by using it. Through it, she leads us to listen to the other people she is on this album: a moomin, a scorpio, a sister, and a small scared person who just wants to be loved. I think what people get wrong about angry women is the perception that they’re unwilling to heal.

The anger of Glass Cannon is not an unwillingness to move, it is a tool for remembering abusive behavior and refusing to normalize it. It is the miracle that is a resilient person, repeating to themselves, out loud,

“I know how I deserve to be treated.” 

Check out Edge Petal Burn’s Glass Cannon here.

– Madeline Lessing

 

Madeline Lessing is a poet, songwriter, and DIY scene-baby based in Boston, Massachusetts.

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