Alice Phoebe Lou’s “Skin Crawl” is a song you need to hear today

Hear the South African singer-songwriter’s new single, which is rooted in powerful personal experience.

January 15, 2019

Alice Phoebe Lou is a South African singer-songwriter now based in Berlin, with a voice that made me stop in my steps when I first heard it. She makes a type of blended jazz-folk-blues that seems to defy some organization, but hers, I've found, always feels freeing for my soul and body.

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Today, The FADER is premiering "Skin Crawl," a powerful, and stunning piece of music that bloomed from horrible circumstances. Lou was drugged and nearly assaulted one evening in Manhattan, and wrote this song after realizing "how often I was touched in places I didn't want to be, how many times I was grabbed, told to smile, rubbed up against," she writes via email. "I felt like I had to fend men off like it was some sort of sick game and the circumstances made it so difficult for me to just enjoy myself. [The song] is about the little things; the words, the comments, the feeling that ripples through your skin every time you're told you're a bitch because you don't want to give him your number."

Defiantly, wonderfully, Lou is the one grabbing, walking on, using men in the accompanying visual, as they contort their bodies for her use. The concept may have been done before, but she executes it with a casual nonchalance that it still manages to feel dignifying for all parties.

"Skin Crawl" is the second single from Lou's forthcoming new record, Paper Castles, out March 8.

Thumbnail credit to Jonathan Kope.

Alice Phoebe Lou’s “Skin Crawl” is a song you need to hear today