Week 248: “Pretty Face” by Soley


There’s a literary genre that I’ve been really into recently, called “stunt non-fiction”. The formula for writing a piece of stunt non-fiction is pretty standard:

– Think of something life-changing, unusual, ill-advised, or all of the above.
– Do that thing for a year. (Blogging diligently.)
– Publish.

I don’t know what it is about the try-something-crazy-for-a-year format, but I love it. People have attempted all kinds of things; becoming smarter, becoming happier, becoming holier, even becoming a stripper.

Some of my favourites, though, are the ones where the author tries to simplify his or her life. Where the author, rather than trying something new, tries to avoid an old habit. The one where the author went a year trying to buy as little as possible comes to mind. I was captivated, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a David-and-Goliath thing. One person trying to swim upstream against years of cultural habit.

So that’s why my next stunt non-fiction read is going to be “The Beauty Experiment” by Phoebe Baker Hyde, in which she goes a year without wearing makeup. Swimming upstream against a river of gendered expectations.

My soundtrack for this quirky and unusual story of true beauty will be the quirky and unusually beautiful music of Soley.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The unusual way the opening piano pulses from left to right.

2. The unexpected key change from verse to chorus.

3. The unorthodox percussion that rattles its way into the song at 1:10.

Recommended listening activity:

Covering all the mirrors in your house.

Buy it here.