Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this review, I’m going to be exploring the latest studio endeavor by Chasing Jonah, the moniker of Ashley Dudukovich, an alternative indie pop vocalist and composer based out of Florida. On each of her tracks, she’s joined by an array of collaborators that help her flesh out each of her artistic visions. For her new single, ‘The Sentence,’ she was produced by Josh Cobb. It’s a complex track, so let’s dig right into it and determine if it’s worth one’s time.
‘The Sentence’ is an absolutely stunning production. Dudukovich’s vocals are superb and the soundscape that she and Cobb crafted around them is masterful. It’s atmospheric, eerie, and continually emotional. The thunderous percussion combines elegantly with the waterfalls of synthesizers to create a landscape of gorgeous sonic beauty. This beauty, of course, is a somber affair to appreciate, because Chasing Jonah’s lyricism is poignantly heartbreaking.
In ‘The Sentence,’ Chasing Jonah writes from the perspective of a woman who seems to have been sexually assaulted or raped. While the tune comes across as a brooding pop song, it’s one that’s important to dig into the lyricism of. The vast majority of rape cases in the United States never get reported to the police because victims are often afraid of ‘victim shaming.’ There’s a ridiculous knee-jerk reaction by some people to put blame on the victim - they were wearing revealing clothing, they didn’t properly vocalize their distress, etc.
All of that, of course, is completely ignorant. When a man takes advantage of a woman, he steals something inherently human about her - and that humanity is a long, difficult road to get back to. When society is so aggressive toward those victims, they may end up echoing some of the sentiments Chasing Jonah does. “I’m wrong, you’re right,” she sings. “I have deserved it every time.”
I sincerely hope that Dudukovich doesn’t actually feel this way. No woman ever should. No victim of violence, regardless of gender, should ever feel responsibility like this. If she is making a statement with this song, though, it is a very, very powerful one. It’s one we can’t turn a blind eye to, because it’s a systemic plague of our modern society that leaves victims in shambles and aggressors untouched by justice.