Kill of the Night - Single (2019)
Review By TeKay
July 24, 2020
What's the significance of a name change? Sometimes nothing, sometimes a lot. In the case of "Medusa" from the University of Chicago (née "Men in Drag"), that "nothing" signifies the continuation of a long history of stellar music. That "a lot" recognizes that we're in an age of rage, reclamation, and representation, and that's exactly what Medusa conjures up depending on your interpretation of the Gorgon myth. So Kill of the Night is apropos of this switch: a woman exerting power metaphorically over demons set out to do harm.
The single is richly textured, there's a lot of bass oomphf where needed, and the percussion thumps right out the gate. Sometimes even the A1s have this tenor quality that makes me think they added "men" to the group. But, there are moments where the production is too bright and airy for the subject matter; a slightly darker overlay would have kept the thematic sonic sphere happening.
Initially, I had a slightly negative reaction to the song. The cover image doesn't indicate a school affiliation or a name switch so my first blind listens disappointed: "Ho-hum, another girl group trying to sound bad-assed and bodacious like Men in Drag, VXN, and Sapphire. I mean great, more power, but why be derivative?" Once I saw the UC connection: "Really? At the same school? Wow, that's ballsy!" So, much to my delight, my ear is still pretty good and Medusa continues the megastardom afforded to Men in Drag. Unless you are Nickelback, you can't really be derivative of yourself.