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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