Caroline Polachek has been in the industry for a while. Forming in 2005, her former band, Chairlift, found success through their blend of art pop, glittering synths, and indie sentiments. With the band breaking up in 2017, Polachek is now continuing with that same blend, but on her own terms.
With the release of Pang, Polachek continues to show her fantastic musicianship and artistic vision. A much moodier release than her previous work in Chairlift, she sings about love and the first feelings that come with it, jealousy, and doubt. With the soaring and airy “Hit Me Where It Hurts,” to the slow, sexy, and self-doubting “Caroline Shut Up,” Polachek covers not only a large range of subjects, but also musical textures and instrumentation. The synths continue to make their signature appearance, but many of the beats and bass lines are particularly good, especially in songs like “I Give Up” and “Ocean of Tears.”
What makes Caroline’s music so effective though is her ability to use all the elements of what makes a good song to their full effect. So let’s talk about “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” for a second. It’s got all the hallmarks of a fantastic pop song: beautiful 80’s synths, Caroline’s breathy but powerful voice, and a fantastic chorus. Not only that, but the music video looks like it’s on the set of an early 2000’s fantasy film and at the same time… not? And in a good way? At any rate, it’s amazing and everyone should watch it. Polachek’s ability to elevate her music by blending her brand of artistic vision with pop and R&B, even to the way her music videos are shot and choreographed, is absolutely a credit to her.
All in all, Pang is a fantastic record, brimming with danceable hits that talk about love (that’s sometimes ill-advised) and those first days where you’re “feeling like a butterfly trapped inside a plane” with another person. Though no longer a part of Chairlift, Caroline continues to show she’s more than capable of making hits on her own. If you want to jam out to some well-made pop, go and listen to this record.
Highlights: Pang, Hit Me Where It Hurts, Caroline Shut Up, So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings