In underground club kid Brooke Candy’s studio debut “SEXORCISM,” physical pleasure triumphs in an ecstatic, extravagant and indulgent album. Candy creates a hypersexualized version of herself to challenge perceptions of female artists sharing their desires, but the record — despite its eye-popping explicitness — ends up at conclusions that other artists have already been delivering.
An otherworldly, white-skinned siren clad in all leather squats topless, revealing three pairs of breasts on the album art of “SEXORCISM.” Here, Candy heightens her sexuality to its physical extreme to liberate herself from the restrictive politics that women face regarding their own sexual desires.
Candy remains committed to her purpose throughout the record — hardly a minute goes by on the album’s 33-minute runtime in which sex or genitals are not mentioned. With tracks like “Drip,” “XXXTC” and “Cum,” Candy’s embrace of sex hits her listeners hard and without any hesitation; she is not trying to mask what she wants under the guise of subtle innuendo that simply wastes time getting to the point.
Instead, Candy takes cues from one of her contemporaries, independent rapper cupcakKe. Similar to cupcakKe’s more explicit songs like “Deepthroat” and “Duck Duck Goose,” though, Candy takes sex and transforms it by making outrageous, absurd comparisons that genuinely challenge the acceptability and respectability of sex.
On “Drip,” Candy commands, “Call the police, this pussy’s illegal,” while “R.I.P.” sees Candy command her listener to “eat my pussy at my funeral” and posits “if you want to get me off, use a Jesus cross.” Candy sees no value in beating around the bush, and her lyrics cut right to the knee-jerk shocks that her artistry thrives off of.
Lyrics like these make clear that “SEXORCISM,” despite its macabre and dark imagery, is intended to be a celebration of freedom and sexuality. Candy knows her audience, and her wide range of collaborators similarly lends the sense that “SEXORCISM” is more than just an album — it is a party.
“SEXORCISM” then brings in some of the coolest — even if not the biggest — names in both alt pop and rap. Frequent collaborator Charli XCX shows up on “XXXTC” with a verse filled with ecstasy innuendo, rapidfire rapper Rico Nasty raises hell on “FMU” and rapper Ashnikko, best known for a viral TikTok dance trend, spits a demonic verse on “R.I.P.”
On “Rim,” the absurdity and camp of the album reaches its peak, only heightened by its collaborators: Candy takes on a mousey, high-pitched voice to sing sexually explicit lyrics while drag queens Aquaria and Violet Chachki provide whispered moans and exasperated phrases. In terms of being an actual song, “Rim” hardly delivers, but the song excels as fan service for the queer, sex-filled universe Candy lives in.
The lightheartedness of the tracks make for fun listening, but their tones still ring so similarly to cupcakKe’s that it is difficult to avoid feeling like Candy simply treads familiar ground. Rap has been opened up by so many radical artists that even making jacuzzi jets points of erotic desire sounds slightly pedestrian.
Given that few people stumble into this niche corner of hypersexual rap penned and delivered by powerful, confident women, Candy’s music fails to make itself stand out among other records in its small but critically acclaimed genre.
Candy’s production falls into the same trap that her lyrics do and starts to feel overdone before it even finishes. The production on tracks like “Rim” and “Cum” finds structure in deep beats grounded in house music, a genre of electronic music that developed in Chicago as an offshoot of disco.
The inclusion of this genre sets Candy’s tracks firmly in the realm of an underground club, but the bouncy beats almost immediately harken to controversial but undeniably talented rapper Azealia Banks’ tracks like “Liquorice” and “The Big Big Beat.”
This comparison would not immediately disqualify “SEXORCISM,” but Banks’ breakneck flow and relentless rapping outshine Candy’s own talent, making the similarity hurt the album.
As a whole, “SEXORCISM” does important and exciting work in terms of smashing the patriarchal confines of the discourse around sex rooted in tastefulness and acceptability; Candy’s own autonomy takes a prominent and purposeful role in the album.
However, Candy’s debut draws so heavily on the motifs of the artists that have been doing the same work that the novelty of “SEXORCISM” wears thin quickly. Candy has a powerful vision and the guts needed to deliver it. She just needs to carve out the future of the genre rather than staying safe, even if “safe” by this genre’s standards is outrageous for mainstream music.