Sugarbutch Says: Happy 15th Anniversary, “Boys for Pele”

Gradually the homosexual and specifically lesbian references in this album became everything to me, and every reason to listen, over and over, to the tracks for just one more “a ha!” moment of recognition. Each day it was a different line. Each listen brought new meaning somewhere. I got to the point where I would feel a little off, like something was just not right, if I didn’t listen to the full Boys for Pele album every day.

It was about the time that I noticed this that I realized my obsession needed a little taming.

And it was about this time when a friend said to me, “I don’t understand the heavy obsession with musicians or artists. I think people are taking all of their original creativity and funneling it into someone else’s art — think about how much more original work we’d have in the world if we allowed ourselves to be inspired instead of obsessed?”

It didn’t feel like a criticism, more like an observation, and it resonated. I was funneling my energies into the wrong places. I was not creating, I was piggybacking. And so my own work was born. My own personal online writing projects began, journaling and writing myself into a new life, and, eventually, into my adult queer butch self.

This album came along at a time when I needed guidance, needed language for my suffering, and needed context for my struggles. When I needed to come out, to find a new sense of myself. I would say this album was the “guiding light,” but really it was more like the shaman who took me into my nightmares such that I could confront them with their guidance and support. It took me into the shadows to illuminate the demons with which I’d been struggling. It explained my life to me in a new way.

Happy 15th anniversary, Boys for Pele. Your sonic novel changed my life.