Recently, after expressing supposedly undue excitement about the release of a stellar album by a trans artist, I was accused of “only giving a fuck because you’re trans, too.” Even though I shut that shit down immediately, it left me with questions. Most pressingly, what’s left for the songs to say when I come to the page as a trans writer, hyperaware of both the dearth of trans creatives and the undeniable lack in material compensation for the amazing work that they do? Is the expectation, then, that this commentary only serves as a means to validate work some might consider unnotable, and by doing so—myself? I can’t help but think that’s bullshit, but I won’t delude myself about the necessity of seeing parts of yourself echoed in at least some of the works that matter to you.
That’s why I don’t doubt that part of why BXNSHY (as an album) hits me so hard is because it helps to fill the gaps in my musical canon where trans experiences are meant to resonate at impossible frequencies. When I was a bad-ass kid, I spent an unholy amount of time locked away in my grandparent’s attic with my Nintendo DS and the only computer in the house, playing imports like Magical Vacation and RPGMAKER classics like Aveyond well into the night, until sunlight splintered in through the cracks in the ceiling. Bxnshy’s album slots neatly into this world of idle animation and 2D-expressionlessness, the engrossing—and entirely expected—banality of an all-too-predictable love story that, for all its nostalgia, never ceases to pull on your heartstrings—least of all because its hopelessly futile. And at the heart of the desire, maybe: the bittersweetness of realizing that that the fairytale dreams you clutched onto hopelessly as a kid, for as long as you could, were rooted in the desire to transcend your beauty, to become someone else. The reason I wanted so desperately to believe—and to a degree, still do—that my favorite, voiceless videogame protagonists were/are trans.
Bxnshy’s lyrics are melodramatic in their monotony, which holds true to the millenial experience even while the compositional elements of the album’s tracks hearken back to not-so-distant, digitized times. The droning rhythms and moments of uncertain, explosive static speak for themselves. The feeling that these songs are self-aware of all the ways they might fall short persists even through the collaborations and remixes; there is only the slightest hesitancy about admitting it—when the electronic shrieking becomes overbearing, and I, as a listener, am pushed to the point of overwhelm, but always, somehow, sent stumbling back over the edge, only after some part of me, some small, secret, ominous part, has been dislocated for the greater good.