"Shaking the Habitual; Photo:N/A"Gender, race, class and identity are all topics found on The Knife‘s fourth album, Shaking the Habitual - their first project together in six years. It’s a highly political venture that embodies everything from queer theory and feminism to the history of the Swedish Monarchy. Still, at its core, is a heart that bleeds with sympathy. It’s meant to speak on behalf of the disenfranchised, and Olof and Karin do everything in their power to make sure that happens on a real and visceral level. Here are five lyrics that exemplify The Knife’s newest roles as cultural ambassadors.

A Tooth For An Eye

A tooth for an Eye; Photo:N/AOne of two singles released, this minimally crafted electro-pop anthem is a lyrical corner stone of the album. Within the simple backdrop, Karin finds the space to question the merits of recorded history. The initial examination, however, is just the beginning as it quickly transitions to a number of other more pertinent social issues, including gender identity. Between the catchy beat and semi-coherent vocals it’s as smooth a segue as your going to get from The Knife you remember in 2006 to The Knife you have today: [LISTEN]

And we write history
To suit our needs
Open my country
The truth will run

Full of Fire

Full of Fire; Photo:N/AOne of the biggest hurdles to overcome when dismantling something as complex as gender norms is making sure you don’t get too didactic. You don’t want to break down a wall only to build two more. Luckily Olof and Karin approach that quagmire with tact and ingenuity. The way they synthesize the lyrics and rhythms help blur lines without stating the obvious. It’s a conceptual methodology that seems to shine brightest here. They don’t divide themselves from the issues they’re fighting for – they’ve internalized them and turned them into a valid creative direction: [LISTEN]

Somtimes I get problems that are hard to solve
Here’s a story
That’s my opnion

Raging Lung

Raging Lung; Photo:N/AOf course money and class were going to work its way into the diatribe, which is where “Raging Lung” falls. It’s an indictment of the western social structure that seemingly thrives off the misery and misfortune of others. This is The Knife’s valiant attempt to expose the government and speak for those that exist without a voice: [LISTEN]

Hear my low sign
I’ve got a story that money just can’t buy
Western standards
The poverty is profitable

Without You My Life Would be Boring

Without You My Life Would Be Boring; Photo:N/A

Taking a break from the headiness, this polyrhythmic sound garden is a foray into some heartfelt introspection. Olof resorts back to an earthier, more organic rhythm to help soothe the primal urges in Karin’s voice. It seems indulgent at first, but the lyrics evoke love and sympathy at every turn. It’s a song about hope and promise, while still remaining cautiously optimistic about the future: [LISTEN]

I think we can make it
But we’ll say that we can’t
Shaking the habitual
Really took time

Ready to Lose

Ready to Lose; Photo:N/AThe monarchy is another target for the Knife to unleash their fury upon. They feel that the bloodlines that define a generation is flawed both in theory and practice – a system rooted in sociopathic tendencies. Karin is ready to break that mold and does so by projecting a solemn and rational tone. She’s imploring the minds of the privileged just as much as she’s empathizing with the heart’s of the oppressed: [LISTEN]

Ready, ready to lose the privilege
I’m more than happy, a transfer of positions
Ready, ready to lose the privilege
Of finding the sequence, an end to succession