December 08, 2022

▶ Featured Artist: Caroline Polachek

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Caroline Polachek and her legacy

Caroline.Polachek.On.TourWhether it is behind the scenes, under a different name, or as a solo artist, Caroline Polachek has been creating music for a long time.  Her vast portfolio includes songwriter, producer, and vocalist with a striking voice having as much range and variety as the different collaborators she has worked with.  Collaborators like Charli XCX, A.G. Cook, Hayley Williams, and yes, Beyoncé.  Now, if you are an underground pop enthusiast you’ve probably known of Polachek for a while, but with the abduction of her 2019 single So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings by TikTok, is 2022 the year of CP?

Chairlift and Polachek

Beginning in 2008 Polachek formed the band Chairlift with Aaron Pfenning, and later Patrick Wimberly.  After a couple of albums and the separation of Aaron Pfenning from the band, Polachek and Wimberly released their final album under Chairlift: 2016’s Moth.  As time has passed, many music critics now consider a Moth a synthpop masterpiece, with Pitchfork even giving it a rescore after realizing the catchy choruses and hooks of hits like Ch-Ching and Moth to the Flame are pop staples.  Additionally, the final showing of Chairlift saw Polachek really leaning into the severe vocal effects of her classical training – something people now know her for.

PC Music was a turning point for the artist.

Then, after the group disbanded, Caroline set out to discover her own niche sound.  This landed her at, record label, PC Music’s doorstep.  Before this, she had experimented with other solo projects under the names Ramona Lisa and CEP to minimal success.  However, at PC Music she discovered Danny L Harle.  Harle is the Jack Antonoff to her Taylor Swift, the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to her Janet, and the A.G. Cook to her Charli XCX.  Together, they just make great music.  Their introduction created Polachek’s debut solo album under her own name: 2019’s critically acclaimed Pang.Danny L Harle and Caroline Polachek

The TikTokification of So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings

Pang was a big shift for Polachek into the, now, oversaturated experimental pop field.  However, despite the tsunami-sized wave of alt-pop projects today, her solo project stands on its own.  It’s a little FKA Twigs, a little Christine and the Queens, and 100% Caroline Polachek.  On this project, she returned to the pop roots that she discovered in Chairlift.  This time, though, she met it with ambitious vocals, surreal production, and plenty of emotion.  The album has the riveting production of songs like Caroline Shut Up but also the classically pop playfulness of songs like So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings.  This song was met with the hijacking of it all across TikTok.  However, the numerous recreations of the choreography from SHYHMF‘s music video speak to Polachek’s ability to teeter the line between experimental and mainstream in pop music – a sweet spot if you ask me.

Watch how she lasts

Now, Caroline Polachek has begun her new era in music.  Her yet-to-be-announced sophomore album has definitely been in the works. Its debut single Bunny Is A Rider was released in July last year.  The song is ambiguous and much quirkier than anything Polachek has done thus far.  However, the somewhat outlandishness of the track is what keeps eyes on the artist.  She is intriguing and has kept bending, warping, and shapeshifting what the bar is in pop music.  That is what keeps her fans loyal and music critics excited.

Intrigued? Keep up with Caroline Polachek on her U.S. tour or see her with Dua Lipa on her U.S. tour.  You can stay up to date on our OnStage section.

 

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