Caroline Polachek Scores 2023’s Most Critically Acclaimed Album So Far


It feels like Caroline Polachek has come out of nowhere, but in fact, she’s been around for a long time, but not as a solo artist. After a long and illustrious music career in bands and side projects, Caroline made the punt at writing, producing, and performing her own stuff. In just two albums, Caroline has cemented herself as one of pop’s most innovative stars.

Caroline first started her career in the band, Chairlift, alongside musician, Aaron Pfenning. Both Aaron and Caroline were founding members of the band, who met at the University in Colorado. Chairlift enjoyed moderate success in the late 2000s and early 2010s, producing three indie-pop albums, Does You Inspire You, Something, and Moth. However, it was clear throughout their album cycles that the real magic sat with Caroline, and when the band broke up in 2016, the world waited eagerly for her solo work. And it did not disappoint. 

Caroline Polachek

In 2019, Caroline unleashed Pang to the world: an experimental, Avant-pop record complete with banger after banger. The real stand out was Caroline’s incredible lyricism, combined with fresh and futuristic production. No song better encapsulated Caroline’s style than So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings. The track is hailed as one of 2019’s best pop releases. 

The appeal of Caroline is that she is a one woman band. Caroline does most things by herself. In an interview with dazed, Caroline shares, “ultimately, I’m the one in control, the one who is filtering and controlling the palette in real-time. I don’t leave it up to someone else. It’s actually more and more liberating to just get in and start making stuff.” Although independent, the singer’s career has been helped by a range of like-minded musicians, and friends, such as hyper-pop pioneer, Charli xcx, producer, A. G. Cook, and Venezuelan non-binary innovator, Arca. “Working with different artists is always a learning experience,” she continues. “It’s a new skill for the tool belt, even when it’s more about realising what doesn’t work.” With just two releases under her belt, Caroline has hit the pop sweet spot: which is being accepted by pop culture, whilst also seeking to change it. 

Just last month, Caroline released her most recent album, Desire, I want to Turn Into You. Upon its release, critics were unanimous in its 5-star ratings, which meant that the record is currently the year’s most acclaimed musical project. It even received a 10/10 rating from pop’s most prestigious magazine, Pop Matters. During the debut release, Pang, Caroline’s music was on point, but she had a very small budget from her record label to promote it. In an interview with the Guardian, she elaborates, “When we started the Pang cycle, I could barely afford a little backdrop that was half the size of this wall behind me.” However, with the release of Desire, Caroline has proved her worth. “Now I can build a landscape on stage and really bring my ideas to life with music videos. Thinking about that makes me really emotional because it’s something I’ve wanted my entire career – and now I have it.”

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