STELLA DONNELLY Old Man gets 7/10

Stella Donnelly

Old Man


Stella Donnelly’s new track Old Man is at a different stage of the feminist movement to Boys Will Be Boys. Whilst the latter was a sorrowful tale of female oppression, Old Man is about men actually being made accountable for their actions, however it notes that there is still work to be done with some of the final lyrics stating, “You kept your six-figure wage” – a sharp reminder that our systems, processes, discourse and biases still favour the male sex.

Old Man is a first of Donnelly’s new band and the first cut off her debut album Beware of the Dogs (out March 8). Through Old Man Donnelly is aiming to keep her protest-folk roots but also evolve and be more adventurous.

As expected with a band behind her, Old Man is more expansive and rounded than songs off her acclaimed EP Thrush Metal. Old Man is cohesive and musically intriguing; genial and fuller with indie-country style guitar and drums that swirl around Donnelly’s innocent voice. Previously Donnelly’s songs were purely driven by vocals, lyrics and vocal timing but in Old Man, Donnelly’s voice and unique melodic timing is still the nucleolus of the music, but with more texture at play, they don’t shine quite as bright as they used to and instead the focus is more on the whole sound.

Thematically the track, like a lot of Donnelly’s to date, takes aim at the patriarchy. Lyrically, it is not the most outstanding song she has written, and does lack the wit of songs like Mechanical Bull, Mean to Me and Boys Will Be Boys, with perhaps the standout lines being “it is our words that will keep our daughters safe” and “your personality traits don’t count if you put your dick in someone’s face”, but between these crackers there is some idle lyrical work.

The sweetness of the vocals and sounds nicely contrast against the woke and confrontational theme, creating a wholesome song with a sting.