Dorian Electra makes light of the darkness in sophomore album ‘My Agenda’

My Agenda is a lot of things. For starters, have fun trying to pin down any sort of genre, because this album takes inspiration from absolutely everything; we’ve got hints of nu metal and dubstep, dashes of screamo, and a taste of Gregorian chanting all served on a solid foundation of experimental hyperpop. Expect lots of distortion, pitch shifting, some screaming here and there, and metallic clashes balanced with twinkling synths. This range can in part be attributed to the highly collaborative nature of the album, with artists as notable as Village People, Pussy Riot and Rebecca Black amongst a plethora of others, creating engaging and unexpected combinations in genre.

The album is a continuation on the theme of toxic masculinity, something which gender-fluid artist Dorian Electra has once before explored through the medium of a tongue-in-cheek high-concept album in their debut Flamboyant. What sets My Agenda apart, however, is its lean into absurdism and its sardonic, gritty tone. That’s not to say it’s not a lot of fun; Dorian draws endlessly upon internet culture to create perhaps one of the most dislikeable characters of all time. Dorian contemplates the emergence of incels and “cringe culture”, taking visual and lyrical inspiration from the Joker, gamer culture, RPGs, and anime. This is all golden material for Dorian’s comedic streak. “We live in a society”, sings the protagonist in ‘Edgelord’, after unsurprisingly going on a tirade about how edgy they are. Even archetypal “nice guys” don’t get a break in this album, as the character in ‘Gentleman’ boasts of his gentlemanliness and urges you to “take [his] gentle hand”, moments after a sample of Dorian sipping what can only canonically be presumed to be Mountain Dew.

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However, Dorian has done such a good job of portraying these unsavoury types, it’s sometimes almost hard to listen to. This album certainly isn’t as accessible as Flamboyant, and the style might be a little overwhelming – if not completely jarring – for someone who hasn’t dipped their toes into experimental, aggressive hyperpop before. If this erraticism is a little too much to dive straight into, perhaps Dorian’s debut album would serve as a more suitable introduction to their message. That being said, the inaccessibility of ‘My Agenda’ is an inevitable by-product of Dorian’s reaffirming espousal of self-expression on one’s own terms, something which is one of the album’s greatest strengths. The album is bursting with an infectious self-confidence, an acceptance of one’s sexuality on one hand, and a searing takedown of those who stigmatize it.

There’s definitely a lot packed into My Agenda, particularly for an album with a 25 minute duration, and it’s very difficult not to go on and on. There is nothing more empowering than Dorian Electra, Village People and Pussy Riot coming together to reclaim the idea of “turning the frogs gay” as part of the homosexual agenda. And if that sounds like it’s up your street, there’s plenty more where that came from in My Agenda.

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