• Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Caroline Polachek’s Desire, I Want To Turn Into You: an album of melodic catharsis

ByCharlotte Brooks

Mar 14, 2023
An image of Caroline with her hand in the air on stage in front of a crowd

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Following a slow tease through the staggered release of 5 singles which accumulate to her most recent EP, Caroline Polachek has dropped her long awaited album: Desire, I Want To Turn Into You.  

A duality of catharsis and repression is evident in the mission statement for the initial 5-track EP, and the eventual album. The album title is derived from the chorus lyric of ‘Welcome to my Island’, and uncovers Polachek’s intuitively phonetic approach to lyricism, with her glorious vocals placing emphasis on the word desire. 

Especially evident through the opening track ‘Welcome To My Island’, we are introduced to a familiar yet distinct era for Polachek, who revealed that the opening single was originally written in 2019 during the production of the Pang album. Often when revisiting the lyrics, Polachek admits to discovering the subconscious feeling and meaning through what is initially an intuitively and phonetically driven lyrical journey. Described further in an interview as more of ‘a rant than a rap’ through which the track is navigated, we are serenaded with the very honest, very human, and very relatable harshness of desire and all-encompassing love. Polachek’s lyrics explore the familiar yet agonising feeling of being completely subsumed in love. Whether it be romantic or not, the state of passion in which this album finds itself and its listeners is uncovered through a needing to “turn into you.” This is an expression beyond longing for love, or to be loved, it’s a need to be entirely consumed by the experience. Celebrating this positive act of submission in an equally beautiful and immersive way was arguably foreshadowed in the previous album and it’s lyrical gestures, for example repetitions of “into me…pang, into you, into me…”

‘Welcome To My Island’ has received a deserved celebration through the success of the original single from winter 2022, as well as the various remixes from this year by fellow artists, friends and producers. Caroline has very much returned, with devoted support from friends and fellow artists in the industry such as Charli XCX, who released an Obsession Remix of the welcome to my island, both captivating and catapulting fans further into the depths of Polachek’s divine vocals, melodies and cathartic expressions of feeling.

‘Bunny Is A Rider’ was released in 2021 and maintains the sound of Polachek’s melodic and synth-centered production. Soon after, the release of both tracks ‘Sunset’ and ‘Billions’ provided a reminder of Polachek’s ability to seek out the most breathtaking melodies, whilst continuing her explorations into unforgettable chanting choral vocals, and her careful approach to balancing the melodies with synth. The latest release of ‘Blood and Butter’ has provided familiar choral catharsis to the likes of the 2019 album Pang – with additional instrumental features of Spanish guitar, and bagpipes, to reflect the lively, soulful sound of her stream-of-consciousness, dreamlike album of abstraction. Above all, the album expresses Polachek’s loyalty to the tone of each song, with playful production explorations which discover far beyond the literal meaning of the lyrics.

Photo courtesy of Tommy Manning