Lauryn Hill’s New Song Is Your Worst Slam-Poetry Nightmare Come True

Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 4 2013 12:04 PM

Lauryn Hill’s New Song Is Your Worst Slam-Poetry Nightmare Come True

75847728
Lauryn Hill in 2007

Photo by MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images

After serving time this year for tax evasion, Lauryn Hill is a free woman, and right on the heels of her release is a new song, “Consumerism.” For fans of the artist, this is encouraging news; new music from Hill—who still has only one solo studio album, 1998’s hugely successful The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, to her name—is the pop-music equivalent to Halley’s Comet. Just prior to her three-month stint in jail, she released her first song in years, the vitriolic but underwhelming “Neurotic Society.”

And, unfortunately, her follow-up is not any better. In fact, “Consumerism” is worse, with Hill running through a laundry list of –isms seemingly willy nilly: skepticism, modernism, hedonism, fascism, hypnotism, secularism. It’s reminiscent of the opening to John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” (“Everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout / Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism…”) only it goes on and on and on. It’s like your worst slam-poetry nightmare come true.

Advertisement

In an accompanying statement, Hill says she “felt the need to discuss the underlying socio-political, cultural paradigm as I saw it.” Coming from someone as smart and complicated as Hill, such a discussion is more than welcome. But what’s presented in “Consumerism” feels less like a discussion and more like an attempt to fulfill contractual obligations. Here’s hoping that, with prison behind her, things get better from here.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 22 2014 3:33 PM Killing With Kindness My in-laws want to throw me a get-well-from-cancer bash. There’s no way I can go.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.