Though it deals with heavy subjects, Ah Mer Ah Su’s sophomore EP Rebecca cocoons her listeners in swathes of vocal loops and keyboard melodies that inspire one to imagine a world beyond oppressive forces.

But that’s not to say that Rebecca is a utopia. Its most compelling track, “Klonopin,” frankly addresses the cocktail of prescription and party drugs Ah Mer Ah Su took to cope with a friend’s suicide. “Run, run / Hide, hide,” she sings in a dreamy falsetto, as if yearning to escape into the world she creates with her drum machine and twinkling keys that evoke a toy piano.

With “Space,” which carries on at the urgent pace of Sia’s “Chandelier,” Ah Mer Ah Su processes the painful experience of dealing with men who are ashamed of their attraction to trans women. (In interviews, she’s been candid in addressing violence against trans women at the hands of romantic partners.)

As Ah Mer Ah Su told me earlier this year, the title Rebecca comes from BeyoncĂ©’s immortal words “He better call Becky with the good hair” on Lemonade, and “Meg Ryan” is where Ah Mer Ah Su delves into the “Becky” concept: In the track’s music video, she saunters around town in a blond wig, repeating the refrain “I’m a white woman / I can do whatever I want” in a valley girl voice.

The track provides much-needed comedic relief for Rebecca‘s difficult subject matter, but that’s not to say it’s a dour record. Quite the opposite, actually: Despite the hardships she’s endured, Ah Mer Ah Su finds ways to create gorgeous, imaginative sounds, interweaving clever societal commentary throughout.

Click here to see the rest of our favorite Bay Area albums of 2017.

The 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2017: Ah Mer Ah Su, ‘Rebecca’ 21 December,2017Nastia Voynovskaya

Author

Nastia Voynovskaya

Nastia Voynovskaya is a Russian-born, California-raised journalist and the music editor at KQED Arts. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, VICE, Paste Magazine, and SF MoMA Open Space. Previously, she served as music editor at East Bay Express and online editor at Hi-Fructose Magazine.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor