Sasami Ashworth, the artist known mononymously as SASAMI, is a multi-instrumentalist composer and vocalist. Using her vast musical knowledge, she creates realist songs about her place in the world. On her latest album SQUEEZE, she showcases an unapologetic, cathartic, nu-metal processing of the oppressions of the world. Her personal experiences as the centerpiece, we take a look at what rage, acceptance, and healing look like for a Queer Femme Woman of Color.
SASAMI begins with a rampage
First, beginning the album with “Skin A Rat,” is an instant unleashing of pent-up anger. The insane guitar and drums with SASAMI’s distorted vocals on this track completely obliterate anyone in its path. Absolutely, it is an instant release and the perfect narrative to begin the album with. Then, while “Skin A Rat” is a release “The Greatest” is longing. Here, the vocal effects are completely stripped. SASAMI’s shaky delivery portrays the emptiness echoing throughout this track.
Subsequently, this desperate desire to escape the despair of the world is a theme throughout much of the album. You see it in the manic-inducing back and forth of “Say It.” Also, you find it in a standout from the album, “Call Me Home.” The song begins with a hollow drum harkening back to 80’s rock. Additionally, combining it with a guitar and SASAMI’s melodic voice, the song has an at-ease-with-loneliness feeling. Finally, crescendoing at the end with a euphoric key change and rising synths the song is beautifully bittersweet.
Turning reality into remorselessness
Next, the apologies are over with “Tried To Understand.” The American rock pop sound recalls artists like HAIM and Fleetwood Mac. Following with “Make It Right,” SASAMI delivers with an intentionally blasé tone. Then, juxtaposing it with an invigorating production; it feels like saying “f*ck all of this” with a grin. It’s a quick uptempo earworm of a song. Along with that, the refrain is undeniably catchy and overall creates another highly-listenable track.
Heavily leaning back into the metal sound, she does a 180 with Daniel Johnston’s “Sorry Entertainer.” The original is quite melancholy. Therefore by turning it into a full-throttle rager she creates the perfect metaphor. Not a deprecatory being, she can burst with violence and aggression. Continuing with the title track, it is sinister invincibility. Definitely, it is a transformation into the creature on the cover of SQUEEZE, the Nure-onna sea serpent. Coming from Japanese folklore SASAMI describes the being as, “this multifacetedness of beauty and femininity and tenderness and sensitivity, but also aggression and violence and power.” With this, the uneasy song summarizes this piece of work that revels in explosive emotions.
A conclusion with “aftercare”
However, the album officially concludes with “Not A Love Song.” Transitioning from the heavily somber “Feminine Water Turmoil,” the song is welcoming and gentle. The instrumentals and harmonies are rich and glowing. With NPR, SASAMI describes this song as “aftercare.” Further, she says, “After taking everyone on this long roller coaster journey, I wanted to end in a contemplative place, a zoomed-out perspective.”
Without a doubt, SQUEEZE is a journey. It is a passionate release gushing with violent vulnerability. Importantly, it is an overwhelming truth embroidered with SASAMI’s own experiences and an exhibit of the vast musical language she posesses.