Review Summary: I won't sacrifice my humanity, sanity for the dickDemidevil
is the long-anticipated first mixtape by the e-prophet Ashnikko, cold of eye and blue of hair. If you don’t know who Ashnikko is, it is too late. She is here. Demidevil
is a power move. Everything that happens on this mixtape is a power move. Ashnikko’s plumbing of the depths of undanceable grating trap-pop is a power move. Her blue image is a power move; who else looks good in blue? The way she slams out lyrics like a fourteen year-old exorcising pubescent boy-demons (doubtless small of brain and humongous of genetalia) is a power move. When designers stylised her anime form as having hair of equal thiccness to Hatsune fucking Miku’s, it was a power move. When she lays down a song about stealing your girlfriend with a few choice couch-bound tongue motions (you know the ones), it is a power move. The fact that you can even listen to it right now (release day, baby!) is a power move; Demidevil
was delayed like forty times over the last however many months, only for Warner Group to accidentally ship physical copies out early. Ashnikko decided to drop it online to match them because that’s the kinda gal she is: impulsively railing against the mistakes of incompetent [maybe] male label executives, and chalking up juicy Spotify hits all the while. Fuck you, Warner Bros
. What a story. What a power m
Let’s get to the point before the internet’s chip-on-shoulder testosterone quotient skirts it: Demidevil
is equally hilarious for the sheer inadequacy of the men in Ashinikko’s crosshairs as it is for her crass delivery. The masculinity she skewers is as callous and toxic as any, but she doubles down on incompetence and ineptitude with delicious zeal. Whether it’s her evisceration of the Edgy Fuckboy as an infantile mess (“Deal With It”), her flipping of the proverbial applecart in a nuanced parable of emotio-sexual co-depence (the (yes) Avril homage “L8r Boi”), or some good ol’ useless-in-the-sack bait (“Clitoris! The Musical”), her penmanship is scratchy and up to, uh, scratch. Some of her barbs are scathing #realtalk (“She's not a therapist, don't wanna take care of him”), some employ subtle intertext (“You're so toxic / like Britney bitch I drop you just because I can”) and some are timeless putdowns that you can share with your friends and enemies alike behind bike sheds the world over rawr (“I’m on point like ballet / you three-headed snake”); all of them are corkers.
For all the clarity of its delivery, Demidevil
is a thorny release to reduce to a unified opinion. Ratings, as they say, fail it. This is because on the one hand, the tantrum-satire at its core is cogent and engaging, but on the other, its bargain-bin trap skeleton and lyrics are unapologetically terrible. This is a bad thing because they are terrible, but it is also a good thing because if they were less terrible, the mixtape’s gist and message would be less of a baller. Power move, etc.. Glibness aside, Ashnikko does well as an anathema to all things polish and class; Demidevil
’s bottom-of-the-barrel moments are among its most entertaining, and since its unvarnished sense of humour and audacious image are not entirely beholden to the stiff-arsed ironyverse, entertainment in this equation is a good thing. Take “Drunk With My Friends”, which features paper-thin pitch filters for the necessary and cogent reason that, just as the effect sounds trashy and drunk, so too is Ashinikko’s narrative persona trashy and drunk. Hola - a substance-style unison so fantastically asinine that it brings on an instant what the shit am I listening to
moment! As a TikTok-ready memelady, Ashnikko is lost without those moments; you shoot for attention theft and obnoxiousness, you gotta wear it. Hell, does “Drunk With My Friends” wear it. Ashnikko does not need to pretend to be an unshowered white girl imitation of Doja Cat to get her beats across. It would be a crying shame if Demidevil
sounded like a good pop album. It is edgy.
Is all this a smart act of subversion, a cast-iron affirmation of being tru to oneself, or a big, smelly cringe? Where does the feminism stop and where does the delete-forever trap skeleton start? Is this album’s greatest gesture its blurring of the lines between sanctified platforms and godawful hairbrush music? When Ashnikko sings “She cute: kawaii, hentai, boobies, that excites me”, are we supposed to share her fantasy or run the fuck away from it? How does she pull off rhyming fuck
so many times with fuck
within individual lines on “Cry”? Ashnikko does not answer these questions. Bitch, she’s asking
them, and even if we don’t take her seriously, we can at least raise eyebrows at her list of collaborators. Demidevil
is twenty-five minutes long. I will never listen to it again. Album of the year.