Last Tuesday, Sept. 7, California-based and self-proclaimed “greatest band in the world” MUNA released their latest single, “Silk Chiffon.” The song, featuring fellow Californian Phoebe Bridgers, is the band’s first release since signing to Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records label this past May. Bright, hopeful and catchy, “Silk Chiffon” and its accompanying music video is an ode to sapphic love that feels like the genuine celebration of queer identity today’s music industry needs more of.
The song opens with a light synthesizer that leads into acoustic guitar. Later, the song adds percussion elements but remains heavily focused on the vocal performance. The intimacy of the track’s instrumentation shows a more vulnerable side of MUNA; the band’s other big hits, such as “Number One Fan” from their 2019 sophomore album “Saves the World,” often feature strong synths and production for a more danceable feel. While this has always been a strength of MUNA’s, “Silk Chiffon” demonstrates they can also do the exact opposite and create an equally infectious minimalist track.
“Silk Chiffon” speaks heavily to the sapphic experience. In the pre-chorus, lead singer Katie Gavin describes the experience of “don’t need to worry about no one / she said I got her if I want.” As the title implies, the song often compares a sapphic partner’s physical feel, as well as the emotions of romantic love, to the softness of silk. MUNA repeatedly and perfectly encapsulate the genuine, mutual admiration that so often grows in queer relationships.
Part of the beauty of “Silk Chiffon” lies in its open validation and celebration of sapphic love. The bridge, arguably the most memorable part of the track, declares “it feels good to me / why wouldn’t it be?” as an inversion of some of the most prevalent homophobic rhetoric. The entire song orbits around affirmations that “life’s so fun.” In an era where so much queer media is centered around trauma and struggle, it is refreshing to hear something that so openly embraces exclusively the joys of sapphic relationships.
In a nod to the song’s themes, the accompanying music video is a direct reference to the 1999 cult favorite “But I’m a Cheerleader.” The comedy film follows a high school student as she is sent to an eccentric “boot camp” aimed at “rehabilitating” gay youth. In the video for “Silk Chiffon,” we follow MUNA and Bridgers at a near-replica of the film’s setting, wearing similarly camp pink ensembles (complemented, of course, by men in baby blue uniforms), and completing tasks like chopping wood and scrubbing floors. These parallels spark an incredible conversation about the rich history of queer media, creating an easy-to-follow line through the 21st century.
“Silk Chiffon” certainly is not MUNA’s most elaborate work; the chorus and bridge walk the line of repetitive, and there is little done to break production conventions. To say it conforms to the pop music formula does not, however, negate the positive impact the song has. Identity and lyrical content operate almost completely separately from production; art that delivers its message directly is still art nonetheless.