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Hopedrunk Everasking’ and ‘Smoke’ come the closest to the magic of ‘Pang’, the latter a high-stakes lament full of desire and anxiety, as much at home in the club and a desperately lonely bedroom. There are glimpses of a sun-kissed, more – dare we say it – content future in the acoustic and flirty ‘Sunset’ and world beats of ‘Blood and Butter’ – but to project any path for Polachek is futile. Wherever she goes next, you just follow. Details

A very simple song at its core. It's about this sense of resolution that can come with finally seeing someone after being separated from them for a while. And when a lot of misunderstanding and distrust can seep in with that distance, the kind of miraculous feeling of clearing that murk to find that sort of miraculous resolution and clarity. And so in this song, Grimes, Dido, and I kind of find our different version of that. But more so than anything literal, this song is really about beauty, I think, about all of us just leaning into this kind of euphoric, forward-flowing movement in our singing and flying over these crystalline tiny drum and bass breaks that are accompanied by these big Ibiza guitar solos and kind of Nintendo flutes, and finding this place where very detailed electronic music and very pure singing can meet in the middle. And I think it's something that, it's a kind of feeling that all of us have done different versions of in our music and now we get to together.”Caroline Polachek doesn’t want to talk about herself anymore. No more introspective cuts about the all-consuming pain of falling, hard, in love – desire is something different, outward facing. On her second solo album ‘Desire, I Want To Turn Into You’, the artist – once a member of US buzzy synth-poppers Chairlift – welcomes that panoramic embrace of the world around her, with all its influences, contradictions and chaos. If 2019’s ‘ Pang’, was about bottling everything she felt, ‘Desire…’ is about letting it finally flow free. It was, most importantly, the first song for the album written with a breakbeat, which inspired me to carry on down that path. It’s about catharsis. The opening line is about pretending that something isn't catastrophic when it obviously is. It's about denial. It's about pretending that the situation or your feelings for someone aren't tectonic, but of course they are. And then, of course, in the chorus, everything pours right out. But tonally it feels like I'm at home base with ‘Smoke.’ It has links to songs like [2019’s] ‘Pang,’ which, for me, have this windswept feeling of being quite out of control, but are also very soulful and carried by the music. We're getting a much more nocturnal, clattery, chaotic picture.” Crude Drawing of an Angel’ was born, in some ways, out of me thinking about jokingly having invented the word ‘scorny’—which is scary and horny at the same time. I have a playlist of scorny music that I'm still working on and I realized that it was a tone that I'd never actually explored. I was also reading John Berger's book on drawing [2005’s Berger on Drawing] and thinking about trace-leaving as a form of drawing, and as an extremely beautiful way of looking at sensuality. This song is set in a hotel room in which the word ‘drawing’ takes on six different meanings. It imagines watching someone wake up, not realizing they're being observed, whilst drawing them, knowing that's probably the last time you're going to see them.”

When I interviewed Caroline Polachek in 2019, she said she saw herself on the fringes of pop music. “I kind of think about myself not up or down, but sideways,” she said. “I’m trying to just broaden the spectrum rather than think about what I’m doing in a hierarchical system.” This was just after she’d released Pang, the first studio album under her name that formally introduced the world to her left-of-center sensibilities, and when the best way to ID her was still to say, “Remember Chairlift? She’s the singer.” Selected items are only available for delivery via the Royal Mail 48® service and other items are available for delivery using this service for a charge.

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Your computer may be infected with malware or spyware that makes automated requests to our server and causes problems. Making pop music comes with a lot of unspoken rules: write simply and generally but specific enough. Build your songs to a climax and deliver maximum sonic payoff. Polachek’s music has always skirted these rules, but does so with concerted intention on this record. The windswept “Pretty In Possible” sounds like she listened to Suzanne Vega’s hook-less hit “Tom’s Diner” on loop before she entered the recording booth. The anticipatory Max Martin-esque thumps on “I Believe,” a would-be ‘90s boy band anthem, instead accompany a chorus that barely builds to anything bigger than a gently sloping hill — a feature that is refreshing. Her lyrics are deliberately shaded in: “Bunny Is A Rider” ostensibly centers on a bunny, who’s actually a lady, who might be Caroline, but is really anybody who’s flighty when the temps warm up and is notoriously hard to pin down (everyone knows a Bunny). The love explored on Desire is not the result of a patient and sustainable partnership, but a violent, all-or-nothing immersion. Implicit in the wish in the album’s title, I Want to Turn Into You, is the prospect of losing one’s own selfhood. Across the album, Polachek indulges in the pleasure of obliteration and surrender: “You are melting everything about me,” she sings with her arms outstretched on “Smoke.” On “Blood and Butter,” her descriptions turn grotesque: She coos breathlessly about diving through her lover’s face and underneath his tattoos, longing to be sustained by nothing “but the sun that’s in our eyes.” You can feel a lot of motion and energy,” Caroline Polachek tells Apple Music of her second solo studio album. “And chaos. I definitely leaned into that chaos.” Written and recorded during a pandemic and in stolen moments while Polachek toured with Dua Lipa in 2022, Desire, I Want to Turn Into You is Polachek’s self-described “maximalist” album, and it weaponizes everything in her kaleidoscopic arsenal. “I set out with an interest in making a more uptempo record,” she says. “Songs like ‘Bunny Is a Rider,’ ‘Welcome to My Island,’ and ‘Smoke’ came onto the plate first and felt more hot-blooded and urgent than anything I’d done before. But of course, life happened, the pandemic happened, I evolved as a person, and I can’t really deny that a lunar, wistful side of my writing can never be kept out of the house. So it ended up being quite a wide constellation of songs.”

In the three or so years since, Polachek’s place in the pop landscape hasn’t changed much, but her clout has veritably ballooned. Her ascent began in 2020, when her exaggerated pouty love romp, “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings,” began making the rounds on TikTok. The next year, she toured and opened for Dua Lipa, releasing the one-off saucy and whistling “Bunny Is A Rider,” which became somewhat of an indie hit. Then, suddenly, her live shows — visceral and beautiful performances — were getting written up in theas New Yorker and New York Times magazine, positioning her as a sort of pop artist palatable for high-culture, coastal elites. She released collaborations with Charli XCX and Christine & The Queens. In December 2022, she announced her sophomore album, Desire, I Want To Turn Into You, with the new caveat that she was only doing select press.Butterfly Net’ is maybe the most narrative storyteller moment on the whole album. And also, palette-wise, deviates from the more hybrid electronic palette that we've been in to go fully into this 1960s drum reverb band atmosphere. I'm playing an organ solo. I was listening to a lot of ’60s Italian music, and the way they use reverbs as a holder of the voice and space and very minimal arrangements to such incredible effect. It's set in three parts, which was somewhat inspired by this triptych of songs called ‘Chansons de Bilitis’ by Claude Debussy that I had learned to sing with my opera teacher. I really liked that structure of the finding someone falling in love, the deepening of it, and then the tragedy at the end. It uses the metaphor of the butterfly net to speak about the inability to keep memories, to keep love, to keep the feeling of someone's presence. The children's choir [London's Trinity Choir] we hear on ‘Billions’ comes in again—they get their beautiful feature at the end where their voices actually become the stand-in for the light of the world being onto me.” It would be unfair to call the album a time capsule of present times, however chaotic those are, as it feels like the uneven collection might morph into something else when revisiting it next week. But some do keep Polachek in control of the present: ‘Pretty In Possible’ borrows from Suzanne Vega’s ‘Tom’s Diner’ as much as Madonna’s ‘Frozen’, the result a beguiling creation. ‘I Believe’ nods to Polachek’s contemporary and collaborator Charli XCX with its firmly ‘00s garage beat and an ambition to be a sweaty club classic in 2023. It has a dual meaning. One, it can be read as being about the ‘you'. We all know that feeling of falling in love, of wanting to obsessively learn from and become that person. But on the other hand, maybe desire is the thing you want to turn into itself. This was written as a bit of a challenge between me and Danny L Harle where we tried to contain an entire song to two chords, which of course we do fail at, but only just. It’s a pastoral, it's a psychedelic folk song. It imagines itself set in England in the summer, in June. It's also a love letter to a lot of the music I listened to growing up—these very trance-like, mantra-like songs, like Donna Lewis’ ‘I Love You Always Forever,’ a lot of Madonna’s Ray of Light album, Savage Garden—that really pulsing, tantric electronic music that has a quite sweet and folksy edge to it. The solo is played by a hugely talented and brilliant bagpipe player named Brighde Chaimbeul, whose album The Reeling I'd found in 2022 and became quite obsessed with.”

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