Speedy Ortiz’s Lyrics Are Inspired by Aaliyah and Lean In

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Photo: Eleonora Collini/Corbis

Foil Deer, the superb sophomore album from Massachusetts-based rock band Speedy Ortiz, is yet another highlight in a spring full of great female-driven rock albums. (Check out offerings from Girl Pool, Mitzki, and Waxahatchee, if you haven’t.) But what sets this album apart is lead singer Sadie Dupuis’s consistently clever songwriting (she is getting an MFA in poetry, to be fair).

She took some time to annotate Foil Deer for Genius, and it turns out she’s inspired by some of the same things that motivate us daily (Nicki Minaj, mostly):

On "Raising the Skate" and Sheryl Sandberg —

“I’m bossy not the boss/Shooter not the shot/On the tip and fit to execute/I’m chief, not the overthrown/Captain not a crony”

“I’m not bossy, I’m the boss” came from the Ban Bossy campaign. The X not the Y thing started with that and then I just came up with a bunch of other binaries that I liked.


On "Mr. Difficult" and Nicki Minaj —

“I’m just a ratchet kid that sits here stretching out my thighs”

I was stoked that I got the word “ratchet” in a song. When I was teaching at UMass my students LOVED ratchet. They’d wanna use it in their essays. So I thought I’d put it in a song. Sort of a shout out to them. And to Nicki Minaj.

And a bonus:

“More Than A Woman” by Aaliyah
One of my favorite songs ever. I love the way that the vocals sound on it. This song was one of the reference points on our new album in terms of the mixing. Especially that reverse reverb thing where they kind of swoop in. Nico, who recorded the album, calls this “High Priestess vocals.”

Read the rest of the annotations here.