****** 2016 has been a year where I've come across more artists who identify as LGBTI+, often by discovering them first and learning later that they do in fact identify as such. MUNA are one such example. I charted a track of theirs prior to "I Know A Place", that track being "Winterbreak (Tiësto's Deep House Remix)" which also appeared in my 2016 EOY at #169. I found out after listening to this particular track that they're an female, all queer trio. Also rad is that they don't use gendered pronouns in their songs, which makes them as accessible as possible really (except to all those people who have a problem with gender neutral pronouns, you can all go get fucked please) and acknowledges that trans and non-binary peeps exist <3
"I Know A Place" is about that feeling of isolation that can often come with being young and queer. While not everyone feels it while feeling isolation, they might also be confused with their sexuality and/or gender identity and it sucks. I've been there and done that. I'm lucky that I'm at a place where I have many friends who are under the queer umbrella, as well as plenty of supportive cishet friends. The same can't be said for others, though. Especially in 2016 when the LGBTI+ community suffered many blows to their safety. Most notably with the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, but also with highly political attacks, particularly here in Australia in regards to an anti-bullying program catered specifically to address suicide rates amongst the youth in the community. Some people just have nothing better to do than put others through misery with their unfair prejudices and hateful opinions. I mention the Pulse nightclub shooting because MUNA intended this track to be a safe space, where weapons are layed down. It was a queer space, which gay nightclubs are an integral part of. They had that in mind before the shooting, making things even more chilling when you consider the hate that the community gets. That one time, not even our safe space was truly safe. Hopefully these spaces can retain their safeness even after this tragic event.
This song reminds me of the Queer Youth Ball that myself and some of my friends in Launceston organised. It was a success, with only one ignorant person from Latrobe in north west Tasmania taking issue that I heard/saw of. Everyone who attended loved it, including the older adults who were they to oversee things. The ball was that place that MUNA describe, and wasn't actually just in people's imaginations. It was a real event that people experienced and I'm so happy I contributed to making others happy in such a way. It was a safe space for queer people. So lyrically this song is pretty much perfect, expressing a feeling in detail that many in our community feel.
I have to admit though that sonically it's not close to as good as the lyrics. Sure it sounds like Haim and Shura, but it doesn't execute the sound well as either of those. It became less of a problem with time but it's still something which does ruin this song's potential. It could be even greater. Katie does a solid job with the vocals at least, and the chorus gets catchier with more listens. As much as I just critiqued it, I can't stress just how much I love it and love how this song exists. I love how MUNA are one of many emerging artists who are writing about the queer experience and their own experience and interpretation of it.
***** ▒ Swingend en lekker plaatje uit eind november 2016 van de Amerikaanse trio formatie: "MUNA", bestaande uit: "Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin & Naomi McPherson" !!! Verdiende ook meer in de Nederlandse hitlijsten ☺!!!