• 07/09/2018

LA Times feature

LA Times feature

LA Times feature 600 600 Stella Donnelly

Beyond outrage: Australia’s Stella Donnelly mixes the personal and political with humor

Tense times call for tense songs, and Stella Donnelly has a few. See “Boys Will Be Boys.”

The single, which introduced the Australian artist to the pop world, goes deep on rape culture with verses that begin by documenting an individual story, in this case one belonging to Donnelly’s friend, and then widen out to encompass victim blaming and the lifelong effects of trauma.

As one may imagine, it’s an intense listen. “Try playing it,” Donnelly says while in Los Angeles recently.

Devastatingly intimate, Donnelly’s song is also unnervingly domestic, as it imagines a conversation between the rapist and his old man. “Your father told you that you’re innocent,” she sings, strumming an acoustic guitar as if this terrifying tale is a lullaby. “Told ya, ‘Women rape themselves.’”

Found on her EP “Thrush Metal,” which was released digitally in the U.S. last August, the song was publicly available before stories of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct became international news and brought newfound awareness to the phrase “me too.” Donnelly didn’t intend to be a part of a cultural movement — sometimes she just sings about an awkward Tinder date — but she does believe that personal stories told through song can support a wider communal dialogue.