Song of the Day: Listen to Natasha Jane Julian’s ‘Beauty That Lies,’ which offers a quietly powerful attack on the dogma behind established religion

The world might be fraught with division and doubt, but on her song ‘Beauty That Lies’ – which is also the title of her recently released debut album  – Natasha Jane Julian manages to cut through the noise and direct a straightforward rebuke of some of the problems with the world religion. The result is both enjoyable and exhilarating to listen to

Natasha Jane Julian has recently released her debut album, Beauty That Lies. The 11-song album is a huge achievement for the California-based artist, who has been on the music industry’s radar throughout the last six years. 

As someone whose music tries to bridge the difficult gap between art-pop, ambient, and trip-hop music, Natasha’s debut album feels like the culmination of a genre-blending style that has been years—possibly decades—in the making. 

But on songs like ‘Beauty That Lies’ – the title song of Natasha’s album – it is the lyrics that will stand out most for listeners. The lyrics of this song offer a direct attack on the problems of the world, many of which are caused by established religion. 

It’s a powerful message, one which feels unexpected given the genre. While the trip-hop genre is sometimes accused of preferring overly subtle, frustratingly minimal lyricism, Natasha has instead forged her path within her songwriting. She calls her music “confessional art-pop,” which is a good description. Fans will already have noted how songs like ‘Take Me To Paradise’ and ‘Devil Eyes’ are brilliantly upfront in how the lyrics deal with themes like love, loss, and self-doubt. Similarly, Natasha brings a kind of confessional weight to the lyrics of ‘Summertime Sadness’ (which she covered and released in 2020, to widespread acclaim). 

But ‘Beauty That Lies’ is probably the most direct song she has ever released. Kicking off with dark, brooding piano notes, Natasha lays her cards on the table right from the first line, calling out religion for being a “good fucking disguise.”

She doesn’t simply fuel her song with anger; she is clinical in the truths she speaks about regarding religion. On lines like,  “Little girls across the world are losing voices, hiding your lies/Tradition is a losing game, you’re just chasing your pride,” it feels challenging to argue with her logic. It’s like she’s wrapped up all that needs to be said about established orders in these few lines, saying that many are clutching onto the old religious systems more out of “pride” than because they believe in them.

The song is powerful because of its scathing attack and because Natasha hints at solutions to the problems. She believes in “wash[ing] away” the “beauty that lies,” perhaps to be replaced simply by physical beauty itself.

Suppose there is any overall philosophy to this album. In that case, Natasha doesn’t want to waste time worrying about someone else’s version of a beautiful world when there’s so much beauty already…

Beauty That Lies is out now and is streaming across major music platforms. Find out more here.

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