Now, look here, young whippersnapper. I know you’ve got problems. So do I. So does just about everyone in the millennial age range. But you can’t tell me everything, can you? A slight nagging doubt, a sneering imp that tugs at your will to plow through another day—you keep it hidden, don’t you? Balled up, walled up, grinning behind your padded bank account. Sure you do. So does Mariah Parker, aka Linqua Franqa (fka Lingua Franca); the difference between her and you, though, is that she’s not wallowing in shadows, nor hiding behind any tissue paper pity. Naw, this Athens native and linguistics guru mounts every stage like she’s about to mount a diving board—and even when she’s falling fast, you can’t help but throw up 10s at her flair.
Parker told us earlier this year that she jumps out to foster empathy and encourage cooperation. “When people come up to me after a show and say, ‘Hey, I’m really glad you talked about that, I’ve felt the same,’ I feel like we’re starting to get somewhere,” she said over email back in January. Class act “My Civilian Life” is one such dive, which taps two distinct but correlated concerns: the crippling depression that plants suicidal thoughts, and the unfair gap between filthy rich club bangers and the intellectual underground. The connection’s a bit wonky—but then, so is that glitchy intro (courtesy of Savannah rapper and producer Dope KNife, who’s on remixing duties here) before the boom bap kicks in. And such is life, as Parker suggests with the spoiled kid in the first verse who wants to “end it all with razor blades.” But none of that—as pulpy and grim as this may seem, like staring down into a blender that you know you’ve got to wash by hand—deters Parker from advocating action and change, a la Voltaire: “is this truly the coolest world / or, if you did it right, could it be something beautiful?” And that, son, is what ya call guts.