The Hollywood narcosis – flat, clean light, no credit card limit, driving drunk on white wine and Valium (for the traffic), to a party in the hills where a celebrity friend from last week might introduce you to someone, if he’s there, and you remember to ask.

As a metaphorical and biological product of its mythical illusions, it only made sense for Class Actress to return to Los Angeles. Reeling from her father’s cancer diagnosis, the singer/songwriter took her advance from Casablanca Records and moved into a bungalow at a luxurious Beverly Hills Hotel, to retreat into music as an escape and a way forward. Over months of nightly submergence in the city’s hallucinations, she watched the sharks circling through their matte­ finished fish tanks and pixelated Face­time confessions, plumbing the sweet depths of attraction, and synthesized them into 4­minute pop songs, always intensifying the pre­-chorus hook. One evening at the Polo lounge, she observed what might’ve been three high-­end escorts, and the lines between model, star, and call­ girl blurred into an epiphany on the album’s themes. The document of this slo-­mo surrender to the rush of pop fantasy is Movies,  a six­ song collection exploring the highs and lows of a life of analog love in an era of digital emotion, and her first EP for Casablanca records, executive produced by her spirit animal, the immortal euro­disco originator and legendary Academy Award­ and Grammy Award­ winner Giorgio Moroder.

Movies is a recounting of a particular night, a constellation of two bodies and souls, the sugar rush of expectation yielding to the dark pull of power and submission, and the dull ache of a love hangover. An airy, innocent vocal over the sea­ sick synths and club-stomping­ beat of “More Than You” convey the vertiginous tight ­rope of romantic obsession, the unshakable desire for a lover like a drug she can’t give up. “The Limit” evokes the sparkle motion of 80’s dance­ pop, with a breathy, teasing vocal that reverses the relationship, making him come to her. A yearning for freestyle, and nostalgic innocence of electronic music’s formative years, also informs “High on Love” with its teutonic groove and new-romantic synth exercises, in which our heroine succumbs to overpowering attraction as her attempt to regain control has failed­­ – she’s in even deeper, and he has all the power. “GFE” casts transactional romance in an effervescent, aerobic glow, her transformation into a simulated “girlfriend experience”. Now she’s the drug, making a perfect case ­study for the pop song as delivery ­system for user-friendly desire. In contrast, “Love My Darkness” heats up in the final stages of the night, pulling off the long game of seduction through a hollowed out beat and vulnerable, imploring voice, until the night resolves in the sounds of Parisian birds at sunrise. The title track, Movies, gives us a final clue to the record’s theme: that fantasies, like movies,­ need darkness to exist.

When the curtains go up at the end of Movies, you “should feel like you’ve dated a crazy actress.” But you really might just be in love…


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