“i like the devil”: Purity Ring’s Prayer for a Balanced Perspective on Feminism and Womanhood

“i like the devil”: Purity Ring’s Prayer for a Balanced Perspective on Feminism and Womanhood

The song skillfully expresses the complex demonization and deification of womanhood throughout history

Screenshot from Purity Ring's lyric video for "i like the devil" [YouTube]
Screenshot from Purity Ring’s lyric video for “i like the devil” [YouTube]

If there were ever a musical act to embody the adjective of rebel, Purity Ring is that act. Starting in 2012, with debut album Shrines, vocalist Megan James has delivered dense, mysterious, beautifully threatening lyrics, and producer Corin Roddick has turned the idea of “pop” upside down with floaty, overwhelming, vibrational sound. The Canadian duo has been celebrated for its genre-confounding music and flattered by imitation over the past decade. But Purity Ring isn’t about rebellion without cause.

“i like the devil” is the third single released off their new album, WOMB, which dropped on April 3, 2020. The title sounds like something that would belong on a heavy metal or occult rock album. But those who know Purity Ring know better. The New York Times once described the group’s lyrics as “crafty, pretty, curiously inviting enigmas [that] retain their secrets even in public.” And that’s the way the band likes it. “I like words and alliterations and making confusing things out of words when they’re meant to make things less confusing,” James once told an interviewer.

But this deliberate confusing of words (particularly on this track) is meant to encapsulate a message endowed with societal implications while drawing on religious themes. The song skillfully expresses the complex demonization and deification of womanhood throughout history. It’s a serious subject for Megan James who says much of the album is her take on how women “struggle for power within the patriarchy in an intimate way, even within their own family, whether it’s one they’re born into or one they’ve gathered.”

This article was first published in An Injustice! on Medium. Click here to read in full.