One defining characteristic of queerness has always been unconventionality. From drag to Mapplethorpe, the gay community has never colored inside the lines. The same can be said for Corey Dargel. Called "baroquely unclassifiable" by The New Yorker and the "prince of postclassical song," Dargel defies any attempt at generic classification.
With the release of his fourth studio album, OK It's Not OK, on the horizon, Dargel has released the first track off the 14-song LP. Poppy, slightly folky, and littered with electronic flourishes, it has raised our hopes and expectations for the album.
"As a kid who grew up gay and closeted in South Texas, I have a particular way of looking at the world," Dargel tells Out about the album. "While I admire Dan Savage's 'It Gets Better' project, I don't think it *always* gets better. This album contains a lot of songs about depression, so, in a way, it's an alternative take on Savage's well-meaning "hang in there" message."
"A lot of gay people -- especially those who, like me, grew up in small, isolated towns -- struggle to overcome their internalized self-hatred," Dargel explains. "Depression is an umbrella that shields some gay people from social interaction, but at the same time, it isolates them from so many good things."
"I can relate to this personally, and I think, even when the lyrics are not specifically male-seeking-male, they still speak to the alienation that a lot of gay people experience, even after they come to terms with their sexuality. Sometimes you need to feel that you're not alone in your grief and sadness and isolation. Sometimes that's more helpful than hearing people say, 'It gets better.'"
"There are several songs that portray gay relationships, from the lighthearted 'Your Profound Self-Doubt' to the ambivalent 'Your Discompassionate Arms' to the tragic 'The Saddest Excuses.' But all of the songs on OK It's Not OK are relevant to outsiders, to people growing up in a hostile environment, even when they don't explicitly reference gay relationships."
OK It's Not OK releases Jan. 27. Watch the video for "There's Nothing There" below: