As far as the fate of those $600 a week payments from early 2020, Bushwick-based singer-songwriter, artist, and showgirl Macy Rodman says, “A lot of that went to online rhinestone stores.”
Her album Unbelievable Animals drops this week, released on Shamir’s Accidental Popstar Records (he appears on the track “Punk Rock Boyfriend”). And rhinestone-encrusted it sounds. Rodman wrote the record over the course of lockdown, born of a self-imposed challenge to write twenty songs in thirty days. Though she saw it through to the end, “they weren’t all good,” she admits. Twelve tracks made the cut, a selection of club-kid dance tracks infused with a punk rock sensibility.
For Rodman, the pandemic coincided with the dissolution of a romantic relationship as well, which tinges the record with confession and heartbreak despite its light, sugary sound. “I was preoccupied with a breakup, so I was just able to astral-project, in a way,” she explains. What began as an attempt to stay occupied ultimately became a vehicle for the harsh realities of the past year to articulate themselves. “It kind of sank in after that month of writing, because I didn’t have something immediate to focus on.”
Nowhere is this more evident than on lead single “LOVE ME!” which the Rodman says “is about getting back with an ex who you know is bad for you.” The all-caps title evokes the desperation that evolves in the lyrics, “I just want you to feel the way I feel,” which Rodman repeats over an expansive beat reminiscent of a ’90s-era Cher hit. It’s an obvious sonic reference for Rodman, who cut her teeth in the NYC club scene as a drag performer.
So is this evident too in the music video for the single, where Rodman plays with familiar romantic tropes like diaries, picking flower petals and engagement rings, but with a downtown camp all her own. She cycles through many costume changes, many of which she designed and created herself. Here the aforementioned rhinestones make their appearance. “I love to craft: I make hair; I make costumes; all of that was the result of a lot of downtime,” she explains. “Everything is languid, and moving, and just kind of sexy but silly.”
Unbelievable Animals feels optimistic, which makes sense, considering Rodman wrote the album as a way to make the best out of unfortunate circumstances. While neither she nor anyone else wants to go back into lockdown, you could almost imagine Rodman returning to her sewing machine and glue gun with a newfound resilience, as if to say she’s been knocked down, but will get up again.
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