Anthony Strain has written for Bomb, Noon, Entropy, The Awl, and HTMLGiant. He is working on a novel.
Soft Mosh (for SOPHIE) by Anthony Strain
Considering she was maybe the least confused artist alive, Sophie Xeon was a confusing kind of famous. Analyzed and canonized by the extremely online, she flew just over the mainstream despite working with its biggest names (Rihanna and Madonna were two). Even as SOPHIE, the all-caps mononym stylized for maximum marquee, her DNA was subcultural, despite her deadpan relationship with corporate media. When she died last week, at the age of 34, having redefined what popular music could sound like, the sadness and gratitude that billowed across the internet were fit for a monarch of liberation: for queer teens, trans artists, and anyone with a pulse really.