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Standout Track: No. 6, “How We Lose This Thing,” a riff-heavy, lyrically aggressive pop song from the debut solo album of Southern Problems bassist and Brightwood Park resident Andy Bowen. The catchy tune tells of Bowen’s infuriating encounter with a “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” gay white guy at a party before it transitions into a full-fledged rallying cry with the ironic, blistering refrain, “marriage and a tax cut.”
Musical Motivation: Bowen, 27, wrote the song after the 2010 mayoral election, when she became frustrated with class and race segregation in D.C.’s queer community. Bowen’s message goes beyond her music: She’s an active volunteer with the D.C. Trans Coalition, which in April won a lawsuit against a District-funded women’s shelter that refused to admit a transgender woman. “My goal is to make sure we get the point across that the queer community is multiracial [and] multiclass,” Bowen says.
Darkness on the Edge of Soul: Bowen’s album is a collection of highly political tunes about her issues with government and public policy, but listen and you’ll also see how personal it is. The stripped-down nature of the songs—which she wrote, arranged, and mixed herself—calls to mind albums like John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. But Bowen also cites the influence of soul stalwarts like D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. “Yeah, I had been listening to a lot of Springsteen,” Bowen says, “but those soulquarian albums are also so beautiful and so elemental to me.”
Listen to “How We Lose This Thing” after the jump.
Due to reporting errors, the original version of this blog post misidentified the election that inspired “How We Lose This Thing.” It was the 2010 D.C. mayoral election, not the 2012 presidential election. Also, Bowen is a volunteer with the D.C. Trans Coalition, not an employee.