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The Comenian

Caroline Polachek’s ‘Desire I Want to Turn Into You: The Everasking Edition’ (2024)

Photo courtesy of Genius
Photo courtesy of Genius

Okay, who was going to tell me that Caroline Polachek was this good? I only just recently came across her catalog and I’ve been spellbound ever since. If you aren’t familiar with the oh-so avant-garde singer, Caroline Polachek, she is an art pop singer-songwriter who came out with a celestial body of work last year titled Desire, I Want To Turn Into You

Her fountain of influences range from Fiona Apple to Celine Dion, and her musicality is impressive and versatile, not to mention she’s worked with superstars like Beyonce. With all these talents under her belt,  Desire, I Want to Turn Into You is a corporeal symphony on love, loss, and self-reflection. On Valentine’s Day, she released the album’s Everasking Edition featuring even more tracks and remixes to compliment the already godly tracklist.

From its symphonic howling at the intro, Welcome to My Island sets a desirous mood on self-reinvention. Through amazing vocal trills, operatic inflections, and spoken rap verses, Polachek embodies yearning. On Polachek’s tropical island, she is a Greek enchantress in the midst of transforming into whatever she desires.  

Polachek imbues flowery chic in Pretty In Possible with its dance-pop drum beats, booming bass, and delicate piano melody. It is pretty in every possible way from the swelling strings and her songful “Da-da-da”’s to her lyrical quest for internal beauty. 

Playing the elusive lover archetype, Bunny Is A Rider is Polacheck’s exotic self-exploration anthem. Who is Bunny? According to Polachek, “Bunny is all of us,” with the song being an “independence fantasy.” Sonically I certainly believe that! Heavily inspired by 2000s pop-R&B stylings, she uses catchy musical cues like the iconic whistling and dance-bass beats, conjuring a fantasy of your most badass, single self – for me, I imagine powerwalking past high-end shops, sporting leather and sunglasses like I’m in an ad for Versace. 

Sunset finds Polachek dabbling with Spanish influences, the guitars reminiscent of the works of guitarists like Paco De Lucía, and her vocals as rhythmic as a flamenco dance. Cleverly using the famous phrase, “Riding into the sunset,” Polachek paints a portrait of a “fiery red” lover whom she wants to ride away with, evoking a sense of amorous wanderlust.   

I Believe follows a self-affirming mantra and continues Polachek’s steak of versatility from the bass to soaring key changes, digital synths, church organs, and vocals that undeniably channel Celine Dion. Learning that this song is dedicated to the late Sophie, a hyperpop pioneer, also enhanced the empowering lyrics on immortality. Also, it would be a crime not to mention the acoustic version. Yes, the original is perfectly and hypnotically hyperpop but the acoustic matches beautifully with Polachek’s subdued voice; hearing her refreshed voice with a mellow guitar. 

With the help of Grimes and Dido, Polachek offers a slice of soaring bliss with Fly To You.”  Its world-defying rhythm and enchanting instrumentals unlock something profound and “looking for something that nobody else can see.” On my plane ride to Rome, I played this heavenly odyssey to death; something about its mysticism awakened something otherworldly in me and let’s just say my head was in the clouds both literally and figuratively.

One of the only ballads on this album, the Shakespearian Hopedrunk Everasking tunnels through life’s uncertainties. The “everasking” could be the question being asked that never gets answered – what happens to us after we die? It’s quite contemplative and meditative while also sorrowful. 

Butterfly Net follows a similar path of balladry through both versions; the original version is acoustically tender while the remix with fellow art pop princess Weyes Blood is more ethereal and fluorescent. However, I find the remix much more illustrious and otherworldly especially the way both Polachek and Blood vocally illustrate a metaphorical butterfly net trying to capture light.  

Smoke dabbles in elemental signals and lacking control. This smoke “floating over a volcano” and “selling me out on a down-low” is suffocating her but she seems to be in denial of its catastrophic effects. Even when it “doesn’t phase me,” she is vulnerably seeking for “the big answer” to her problems. Seemingly ending this album’s narrative, Billions indulges in sensuality and erotic divinity. Circling back to Polachek’s sublime island from Welcome To My Island, it embodies the personified desire she wants to turn into and the physical closeness she yearns for another person. 

Further in her Everasking Edition, she includes an amazing sleuth of deluxe tracks that expand the album’s narrative. Dang is a chaotically delightful spectrum of vocal distortion and tropical flair. Even more enticing is Her cover of Spring Is Coming with a Strawberry In the Mouth an expansive, imaginative piece of electro-pop with artful synths and cascading harmonies. The Operating Theatre’s original version is an abstract composition on its own but strangely. haunting; Polachek’s version is more spritely and ethereal, evoking blooming, godly hope. 

She even includes an original verse on love where “What I want is to walk beside you needing nothing but the sun that’s in our eyes,” and also directly references the hypnotic Blood and Butter. I first heard this track in an H&M in Florence and let me tell you, it made my shopping experience much more glorious. 

Coma immerses the listener in its dreamy landscape. This state of dreaming is complimented by a stabilizing beat, a beeping heart monitor, and, of course, Polachek’s beautifully bending crooning and eccentric vocal trills. Like other tracks on this record, this song follows an otherworldly theme and the out-of-body experience of love. Similarly, the trance-inducing Gambler’s Prayer is about detaching from a relationship and the chances that “throwing a thousand-sided die” will land favorably…or not. 

Entrancing in every sense, Desire, I Want To Turn Into You captures pop potential in divine eccentricity. So many of Polachek’s musical ideas and stylings are executed so well and her artful ambitions shine in each track. This album is like a last-minute trip halfway across the world: spontaneous and seemingly chaotic but mystical and so worth exploring. 


Favorite Track(s): Welcome To My Island, Pretty In Possible, Bunny Is A Rider, Dang, Spring Is Coming, Coma, Gambler’s Prayer

Least Favorite Track(s): Blood And Butter 

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