Serena Isioma has an antidote for election anxiety | The Listener | Chicago Reader

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Serena Isioma has an antidote for election anxiety

The Chicago bedroom-pop songwriter can give your brain a 15-minute vacation with the Sensitive EP.


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  • Courtesy the artist
  • Serena Isioma

If you're like me, you're tired of being bombarded with presidential voter polls and U.S. electoral maps that treat a bitterly fought election like an NCAA basketball tournament. My anxiety about the outcome of tomorrow's general and local elections has eroded my ability to do the most basic work tasks. I'm exhausted by wondering about the choices of complete strangers who aren't researching down-ballot local races or who might somehow not know how to choose between a career centrist with a middling record of public service and an inept wannabe despot who flagrantly breaks the law and has decided it'll help his chances if he sacrifices Americans to a pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 of us so far.

When I feel depleted, I seek out music; often I return to songs I've listened to in joyful times. Chicago bedroom-pop experimentalist Serena Isioma released the EP Sensitive in March, and it's been helping sustain me since I bought it in June. On the title track, Isioma projects a playful boastfulness with their suave, assertive singing, which complements its light, funky synth melody, loose R&B guitar riff, and cool, in-the-pocket drums. Isioma takes charge right out the gate, their voice coasting atop the charming, easygoing instrumental, and I was hooked in the first ten seconds. I've been sharing their EP with friends all summer, and I wish I'd told you all about it sooner.  v

The Listener is a weekly sampling of music Reader staffers love. Absolutely anything goes, and you can reach us at

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