Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want To Turn Into You
Feb 14, 2023 (updated Mar 18, 2023)
Before Caroline Polachek drops pop album of the year… anybody wanna admit they got a crush on me πŸ₯Ί

What makes a good pop song? This is a question I find myself constantly pondering, especially when listening to most of the dog shit that populates the top of the Billboard charts. At its core, pop music is music at its most accessible- prioritizing catchiness and accessibility above all else. This is why 95% of mainstream pop artists suck monster cock. Very few artists strive to push the medium forward. Instead, most ride on the waves already created for them, creating choruses that get stuck in your head but doing very little to make the rest of their song stick out of a crowd already lacking anything extraordinary. But if they are riding waves, there must be artists creating them, yes?

Enter Caroline Polachek.

Born into a family of musicians, Caroline Polachek has been playing music since a young age. She joined a choir in the third grade, was gifted a keyboard as her first instrument in grade school by her father, and even joined multiple bands throughout her high school and college years. With all that being said, it should now be obvious why her music seems to have so much more passion than most of the Billboard charting pop stars who haven't touched a single instrument in their lives. 2019's Pang, her debut album, encompassed all pop sounds imaginable, from sugary, feverish high points of synthpop perfection to eerie, subtle, yet nonetheless gorgeous, ambient pop. It showed Caroline as one of the most promising faces in pop music, and while I was excited for Desire, I Want to Turn Into You, there was also one reason to be cautious- I mean, it's a sophomore album. Sophomore albums can do one of two things; be career-defining moments that show an artist can grow and adapt or put the artist into a box and strip them of their ability to mature as a musician.

Now, look at my score. Which of these do you think this album does?

It only takes a few seconds to get lost in the kaleidoscopic island filled with the partying, heartbreak, dancing, romance, crypticness, beauty, and excitement that Desire, I Want to Turn into You inhabits. From the first moments of Caroline's anthemic, almost primal howling on Welcome To My Island to the fade-out of the drop-dead gorgeous choir on Billions, Desire, I Want to Turn Into You remains stirring, tantalizing, exhilarating, and, most important of all, forward-thinking.

Nearly every aspect of Desire, I Want to Turn Into You is commendable. For one, the amount of emotion Caroline's vocals convey cannot be understated. She briefly practiced operatic singing, which explains her dynamic singing that sounds like she's stretching her vocals from one side of the cosmos to the other as she does vocal gymnastics no one else could perform. Desire, I Want to Turn Into You is overflowing with mind-meltingly inventive production, too. Bunny Is A Rider's slick bass and snappy afrobeat-influenced drums compliment one of Caroline's most magnetic performances; meanwhile, the breakneck whirlwind of breakbeats on Fly To You keep you bopping your head throughout the entire experience. Caroline's writing style seems almost impromptu. Attempting to decipher the crypticness of her anecdotes, which almost certainly mean nothing 85% of the time, further engrosses you in Caroline Polachek's whimsical, unorthodox mind. Billions, most notably, strings together many seemingly unrelated lines ("Psycho, priceless, Good in a crisis / Sexting sonnets under the table") to create an intriguing outline of a relationship. This abstractness only augments Caroline Polachek's enchanting qualities.

Desire, I Want to Turn Into You, similar to Pang, is a hodgepodge of pop stylings. The bright Flamenco pop of Sunset, while undeniably a bit tacky, I'll admit, does most certainly ensure that the song standouts as a distinctive moment amongst the already incredibly diverse tracklisting. On Pretty In Possible, thumping drums put Caroline Polachek into a trip-hop setting where she sounds right at home. The unsettlingly sparse and submerged in reverb Crude Drawing Of An Angel's instrumental accentuates how reserved, almost hopeless Caroline seems to be on this cut as she serenades the listener with her abstruse poetry- "Angel, I'd hold you down / Forsake me here on the ground"- all leading to a climax with Bunny Is a Rider's previously sunny and snappy whistle being recontextualized into a more barren context with it now feeling as calling out to the listener, asking if anyone is there. It sounds like a solemn stroll down your old neighborhood, which, in the years since, has become a ghost town. The following I Believe, as opposed to its desolate predecessor, sounds more like a busting a move on a heavily occupied dancefloor as jittery rhythms and an undeniably hypnotic groove keep your head high.

Blood And Butter plays out like the soundtrack to walking through a mythical forest filled with fairies, iridescent spores, and trees sporting fluorescent leaves which span the forest's dirty ground. It harkens back to the same mystical feeling I had with my first listen of Björk’s Vespertine as it trades off between busy art-pop that is populated by tropical, pounding electronic drums/an almost tribal-sounding bassline and stripped-back sections of acoustic folktronica. The Celtic Electronica implementation with the bagpipes that pop up toward the backend of the track makes the song feel whole, bringing you deeper into Caroline's musical forest that feels straight out of a storybook. Welcome To My Island, the record’s electrifying inception point, lays the foundation for what makes this album so great. Beginning with Caroline ferociously belting out a stunning display of her vocal elasticity over a reverb-drenched guitar before segueing into glossy electronic-bliss, Welcome To My Island is no doubt the most progressive cut on the entire record. From a bouncing, in-your-face freestyle verse to the cathartic chorus that feels all the more gratifying following the deadpan delivery on the first two verses, Caroline Polachek touches upon the untimely death of her father during COVID and sets up the general theme of desiring to be someone better this album seems focused around in her own eccentric way.

And, of course, I can't conclude this review without discussing the record's climax, Billions, possibly Caroline's most mountainous achievement yet. The hauntingly elegant crooning that occupies the background and reversed beat creates a blissful, dream-like backdrop for Caroline to drop her most elastic vocal performance her career has yet to offer. The lustrous, spellbinding hook will surely melt your heart in its sensual glory only before a stunning choir ushers the record out. It is a closer as powerful and explosive as its head-bopping opener, though for entirely different reasons. Gorgeous, ingenious, and lavish, Billions is absolutely one for the fucking books.

"I've never felt so close to you"

Going back to my first paragraph on what makes pop music appealing, I think this record encapsulates it all; it's the ability to make yourself stand out; to show off a charismatic personality; to prove that you have something to offer that the thousands of other pop stars trying to make it on dime-a-dozen pop don't- and, most of all, its that ability to make some catchy ass shit.

Also, 3,000th rating 😲😲

Favorite Tracks: Welcome To My Island, Pretty in Possible, Bunny Is A Rider, Crude Drawing Of An Angel, I Believe, Fly To You, Blood And Butter, Butterfly Net, Smoke, Billions
Worst Track: Hopedrunk Everlasting

Track Ratings
12Billions / 100
great review. reminded me of my time in the war.
@IEnjoyMusic Thank you for your service in nam 🫑
Amazing review from an amazing goat
Hey Chode, wanna be my valentine??? πŸ₯ΊπŸ‘‰πŸ‘ˆ
Such a great review, as per usual 😊
chode i am in love with you
based review
chodey wodey be based
whats the problem with sucking monster cock huh. any problem with that. (great review
@MattsReviews no matt fuck you
@MattsReviews Sorry but he already chose me... Or should I say "Chode me"???
Sunset in worst tracks *pensive*
You smell like shit anyways.
Chody poo… I like you.. no like i like like you
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