The follow-up to the band's acclaimed debut album, Endless Scroll (2018), and 2019's Shiny New Model EP, Broken Equipment was inspired by a book club. In the early months of 2020, the Brooklyn art-punk incendiaries gathered together with close friends to study the works of a wide range of philosophers. Passionate debates lasting long into the night became a regular occurrence, motivating the band to become as ideologically unified as the weighty tomes they were reading. Broken Equipment is Bodega’s attempt to interrogate the external factors that make them who they are, propelling existential quandaries with tongue-in-cheek humor, highly personal lyrics, and irresistible grooves.
The album’s 12 songs are set in present day New York City, packing in references to contemporary issues of algorithmic targeting, media gentrification, and the band itself. On 'NYC (disambiguation)', they break down how the Big Apple was “founded by a corporation” and history remains alive in the present. The poetic 'Pillar on the Bridge of You' is the first love song Ben ever wrote for Nikki, while 'All Past Lovers' gazes back to the “southern belle” and “chat room suitor” who still live inside him today. To accompany the propulsive pace of 'Statuette on the Console' and its lyrics about switching perspectives, Nikki recorded alternate versions in eight different languages. “I used God in that song as this arch overlord character, but it could also be a real estate developer,” she explains. “It’s about anyone who puts their reality on your back and forces you to carry it around.” In that song, Nikki also wryly states that although she doesn’t have faith in this particular “God,” she is still “living life with (my) platitudes.” On 'Territorial Call of the Female', Nikki playfully quips that “when the man is around that’s when I’m putting you down,” highlighting how in the past she unknowingly reinforced patriarchal values by turning against other women to attract men. It’s moments like these where Bodega most exemplifies their self-professed motto that “the best critique is self critique.”
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