In the age of internet chatrooms, then comment sections, then DMs, trolls have been a persistent plague. It’s easy to brush aside for anyone who has a small digital platform, but, as Aidy Bryant’s show Shrill, for one, demonstrated, the nagging hate that comes from faceless avatars can be damaging for everyone involved. Basically, it’s complicated. And Deqn Sue knows it. Her new single, “Troll,” is a cathartic breakup song written with the maturity that comes from moving on.
The neon-haired Alabama native is known for wholesome fun. Scroll her social media feeds and you may feel like you’ve fallen into a kaleidoscope. Deqn Sue doesn’t get mired in inside jokes or bravado; instead, she takes wry observations and twists them into catchy songs. Her last new music came as a collaboration with Wu10 on a song called “Animal Clouds,” and months before that she released “unplugged” versions of songs from her sophomore record, Juggernaut. That came out back in 2017 and was the last batch of original music fans had to go on, until earlier this spring.
Her latest single “Troll” has all the hallmarks of great pop music—simple, direct lyrics and unique, earworm melodies. The lyrics describe a failed relationship, where blame is assigned fairly; Deqn Sue owns her own mistakes and misunderstandings just as much as she laments those of her ex. And she also allows space for forgiveness.
It’s funny to call an ex a troll, especially with the added visual connotation, and, crucially, the inherent levity of the term also implies that the wound left by the trauma has all but healed. It may not be pretty but it no longer causes pain.
Deqn Sue has a hyper-chromatic reputation, which goes hand-in-hand with silliness. Make one small leap and one might assume that maintaining a high bar of whimsy also means lacking seriousness, but Deqn Sue shuts down the argument. She folds layers into her lyrics to provide gravitas, surrounded by clever, buoyant hooks riding bucking rhythms.
On “Troll,” I kept waiting for the twist, for Deqn Sue to reveal that she’s a troll too; when it didn’t come, what remained was her earnesty. The bridge is ripped from a power ballad—a quiet, belching bassline pulses beneath Deqn Sue belting raw emotions—making it a perfect conduit for the song’s most vulnerable verse. As she carves out wholesome pop as her very own genre, Deqn Sue will always speak truth.
Find Deqn Sue on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Visit her website for some very cool merch including vibrant T’s and some fresh art work. “Because it’s June, Black Music Month and Pride,” Deqn Sue is currently offering 15% off everything in her online store (valid until July 1st). Discount code: BMM15.
Words: Zoë Elaine