“Getting what you want can be dangerous, but that’s the only way I want it to be.”
Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly (together making up the synth-pop duo Chairlift) don’t have a track record of intentionally writing crowd-pleasers. Although their commercial successes can be attributed in part to the placement of their song “Bruises” in an Apple ad back in 2008, many would hesitate to label their music as radio-friendly. Since the duo’s inception, Chairlift has contentedly crafted two albums of music indicative of their late-80’s tastes, attaining a roster spot on Columbia Records along the way. “Ch-Ching” (a song boasting horns, claps and synthesized basslines — also the first single off of their January 22nd release, Moth) signals a stylistic shift for a group that is gearing up for their first major release in 4 years.
“Ch-Ching” is by no means a cliche hodgepodge of the aforementioned electronic parts and pieces. In the same vein as female-led CHVRCHES and Purity Ring (both further embracing their electronic influences on respective 2015 releases), Chairlift has entered into the modern-pop arena with a sound that is in many ways familiar, yet creatively satisfying to the critical ear. While listeners familiar with the group’s previous work may initially be taken aback by Wimberly’s hip-hop style production, Polachek’s percussive vocal performance adheres masterfully to the beat-laden soundscape.
The song itself deals with the disbelief and uncertainty that often comes alongside personal achievement, but, although this commentary weaves its way throughout, an in-depth analysis of the lyrics may be beside the point. While speaking with Pitchfork about the song’s music video (a dance number taking place in the streets of NYC), Polachek stated, “For this video, I really wanted it to be less about the lyrics and more about the energy and getting the energy of the song.”
Although the single strays from the duo’s sonic mantra, “Ch-Ching” is a thoroughly enjoyable experiment that allows a group often dwelling in dark thematic territory to have a little fun.
Sometimes artists, like the rest of us, are just looking for another reason to dance.
– Ian Ihde
Chairlift’s “Ch-Ching” added to the Spotify playlist: