Caroline Polachek's "Dang" Is Both a Continuation and Counterpoint

Exclaim! Staff Picks

BY Alex HudsonPublished Oct 18, 2023

This past February's Desire, I Want to Turn Into You is a glorious, life-affirming masterpiece, its unpredictable stylistic turns (trip-hop, flamenco, new age, operatic yodelling, etc.) tied together by heart-stirring hooks that are uniformly gorgeous.

Caroline Polachek's new single, "Dang," on the other hand, strips away the beautiful synth textures to reveal the tangle of fritzing wires within. The stark beats bear a passing resemblance to Desire standout "Bunny Is a Rider" — there's even a goo-goo-ga-ga baby sound at the end — but this brand of hyperpop is harsher, with a briefly gorgeous chorus that evaporates into an elongated, scratchy-throated clip of screaming at geese. Polachek premiered the song on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with a fittingly stripped-down performance, featuring a professorial powerpoint display that begged the question: how have I never seen anyone else do this before?

Co-produced with Montreal's Cecile Believe, with additional work from longtime collaborator Danny L Harle, "Dang" serves as both a continuation and a counterpoint to Desire, I Want to Turn Into You, making sure the album is fresh in everyone's minds as we begin to compile our "best of 2023" lists.

(Perpetual Novice)

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