“Stillbirth” Alice Glass -Rachel

Alice Glass is a former member of Crystal Castles, a band she cofounded with Ethan Kath who has continued the project without her. Glass left Crystal Castles in October of 2014 and in July 2015 released her first song and only song so far since leaving the band, “Stillbirth.” When she released the song, she also released a statement telling fans that she had suffered from “an abusive relationship that started when [she] was a teenager.” All the proceeds from the song were donated to “benefit organizations (like the nonprofit RAINN) that help survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and incest.” The song is a cycle of harsh angry synth and more dreamy passages, reflective of the cycle of abuse Glass mentions in her statement: “Over the course of that relationship I was systematically cut off from anyone and everyone that I could truly be close to. I was talked down to, yelled at, locked into rooms and criticized daily about my abilities, my weight, my looks, my intelligence and almost every move I made. When I couldn’t take it anymore and I wanted to end the relationship I was threatened, then I was told I was loved, and the cycle would begin again.” The lyrics reflect the same. On the harsher parts of the song Alice addresses someone telling them, she is “Waiting waiting waiting for you to die.” This gets repeated with other anger filled lyrics, leading to the more calm atmospheric sounds that accompany “I want to feel like a wasted case/I want to feel like a waste of space.” Here it is her desperation, her feeling bad for herself building up again to “I want to start again” which gets repeated over and over. This song sounds desperate, she needs to get out of where she is. The title itself is a painful event that occurs for some people with uteruses and also represents the death of a life, which could be either the person Glass wishes were dead or the life she had with them.
In Glass’s statement she does not name her abuser. However, doing the math and connection the public and her personal statement, speculation leads to the conclusion that it was Ethan Kath her former bandmate. The two met when she was 15 years old and the two created Crystal Castles in the early 2000s and the abusive relationship she speak out about started in her teens. When she made the announcement on Facebook that she would be leaving Crystal Castles, Glass said that she felt she was unable to express sincerity, honesty and empathy any longer. There followed a war of statements between Kath and herself, one in which Kath tried to belittle Glass’s influence in Crystal Castles which he later retracted from his comment. While Alice Glass never made a direct statement regarding who her abuser was, her work in increasing invisibility through this song’s release and her spreading of information to her fans through social media is important. As a figure with a substantial following she is letting people know that sexual, emotional, and physical abuse happens and many of these are not visible, they happen even to badass front women who has performed at crazy raucous shows at times with multiple broken bones.

1 comment on ““Stillbirth” Alice Glass -RachelAdd yours →

  1. Rachel,
    Thanks for posting this, I have never heard this before and it’s great. I didn’t know about this controversy surrounding Crystal Castles. It really is a tragic story that gets told again and again. I tend to think about a year or so ago when Amber Coffman from the Dirty Projectors called out a publicist for sexually assaulting her and so many other female artists came out about the same person. But it really happens all the time, every day. I think that the stark contrast between heavy synths and lighter passages in this piece that you point out are very effective in demonstrating this anger.

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