Erin McKeown wrote the songs on her new EP “According to Us” long before “Hamilton” writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda delivered his “love is love is love is love” sonnet-by-way-of-acceptance-speech at the Tony Awards this month. But the sentiment is the same. And if it didn’t resonate the way it should have before the Orlando terrorist attack/hate crime that killed 49 people in a LGBTQ nightclub, it certainly does now.
The title “According to Us” seems like it’s the postscript to the name of the last song on the EP, “The Queer Gospel,” which is a tuneful expansion on the venerable gay-rights slogan “We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!” “Your love will take us far,” McKeown sings. “Praise us and we’ll show you/ From heaven to the glory holes/ Glorious and free.”
It’s a powerful, political tune from a writer who has never shied away from topical songwriting. But another track from “According to Us” is the Best New Song of the Week on WRSI-FM, 93.9. “Sugar in a Pie” is probably the most straightforward love song McKeown has ever recorded, which these days feels almost more pointed, even subversive. McKeown plays a dreamy, descending guitar figure and sings with an earnest sweetness to the object of her affection. “Kiss me dear with a dreamy little sigh,” she sings. “Fill up my cheeks with smiles so I/ I cannot tell a lie/ Never in doubt you know/ I love you my, oh my.”
“According to Us” comes out this Friday, June 24.