Love is a topic that seems to influence every artistic outlet: literature, film, painting, and music. People constantly pondering over love can seem like a tired trope at times. However, when it is done with poise and grace, the artistic endeavor can wash over the audience like a symphony of emotion. This is what Caroline Polachek accomplishes with her solo debut album Pang.

Pang is Polachek’s first solo project since the disbandment of her band Chairlift. Polachek collaborates with PC music’s very own Danny L Harle for the majority of this record and seems to tone down his futuristic pop production into soft waves of sweet and sour love. His twinkling production really shines through on tracks such as “Ocean of Tears” and the title track, which is about short bursts of emotional pain that came to visit Caroline and inspire this record. Polachek’s vocal performance on this record does a lot for the delivery of these songs. Autotune grips her notes and guides them to unnatural highs and swooning lows. Her voice is a paintbrush on these songs, and each note possesses an additional emotional footprint to take in as she sings the lyrics.

The record opens up with the ethereal “The Gate”, short and sweet, acting as a taste test of the sugary, dreamy pop that follows after. Polachek seems to find herself in a constant battle between doubt and resolution on this album, and this battle is what makes the album such a pleasure to listen to. On “Hit Me Where It Hurts”, Polachek bounces back between almost spoken verses and an operatic chorus for a delightful listening experience. Other highlights are “Door”, “Caroline Shut Up”, and “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”, the latter being honestly my favorite pop song of the year. 

Pang is about the euphoria of love: the joy leading up to it, the pain after, and the things you gain from it as a whole. The record is a sparkling testament to being in love, and I highly recommend it to anybody who is curious about what it has to offer.

-Nate Sizemore