‘In Wonderland they lie,/
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die’
~ Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
It’s not real it’s figment of my imagination
It’s all pretty here and everything is lovely
Some fuck shit, too but real shit is happening and my people need me
And therefore, I’m out
~ No More Wonderland – Little Simz
For me ‘Stillness in Wonderland’, marries music and literature seamlessly (1).As a rhythmically illiterate individual whilst I admire the album’s instrumentals and artists’ flows, what interests me most is the narrative. The album describes Simz’ journey in and out of Wonderland evoking images of Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. It’s disjointed, the listener gets lost never quite sure when they are in Wonderland following the track order. We are unsure where we stand on the musical plane- finding the door for the genre is confusing as we are lead to Soul, RnB, Grime and Jazz in just a few tracks. We are confused as she takes us on Alice’s journey drinking potions and taking turns through her lyricism. Yet she builds on the implicit social message in Carroll’s work. In the book, to a mature reader there is an ominous undertone from Carroll’s depiction of escapism to the farthest degree. Simz is swept up by fame ( or by her past or psychological state (which would be even more plausible in the framework of Carroll’s world as he used psychedelics) don’t know definitively because it’s so disjointed 🙂 ) but is simultaneously haunted by her intro to ‘Never let my people down’. Simz’ fight is ‘to activate the pineal gland of the youths in the streets’ and that is what pulls her out of Wonderland. She truly captures the essence of Wonderland(2) by leaving Carroll’s whimsical dreams for ‘dull reality’.
1. I am by no means an expert in either of these fields. This article is an amalgamation of my (somewhat enthusiastic) thoughts
2. King of Hearts paints a vivid picture of the Queen of Hearts stylised as Simz and honestly I live for it. Has she has read Alice in Wonderland?
NOTE: I have attached the film for the album- this helped me visualise her and Carroll’s worlds colliding.