Fluorescent waves stir beneath a chamber-pop and jazzy-lounge production on Birch‘s latest offering, “Spelling Lessons.” The NYC-based indie artist and producer, Michelle Birsky, crafts a delicate open letter born from fear of speaking up in regards to sexist behavior. Playing off the lessons one learns at school, versus contextual lessons, the track takes a page from Birsky’s experience and displays it for what it is and the expectancy of a female. Fused with a tinge of misery accompanied by Chloe Rowlands’ flugelhorn, the track is a deep indie slice of earthy tones and protruding drums. Birsky’s vocals are light and determined, not needing to yell to carry her intent across, and conveys a heavier potency.
“‘Spelling Lessons’ is a song about first experiences with sexist behavior. The first time I was taught that girls exist FOR boys, not WITH boys,” explains Birch. “I was in 6th grade and I bent over in the library to grab a book. My shirt rode up a bit showing part of my back and the librarian standing nearby chastised me telling me, ‘Young lady, your back is showing. I won’t have you in here distracting the boys.’ I was shocked, confused and embarrassed.”
The dreaminess of the track nurtures Birsky’s wounded stances, “Listen while I speak / I was a little girl / I still deserved a seat,” recollecting the first moment she dealt with sexism. Suppressing her voice, going over the notion how fear was “instilled” within her at an early age, the conditioning of a mannequin is shown. Birsky’s croon and realization breaks the mindset and becomes a means of catharsis throughout the electronic chimes. The right amount of brass that trails behind Birsky is a gorgeous addition that commends Birsky’s triumphant voice on the subject, and will hopefully inspire more to raise awareness and their own voice.