Several years into fronting DIY electropop outfit Goth Lipstick and releasing two experimental hyperpop albums, Francesca Fey was hoping to move in a more abrasive direction on her third album. She eventually decided to change course once she realized the music she was trying to make at the time didn’t quite match how she was actually feeling.
“After a whole semester of trying to write this [hardcore experimental] album, I realized the quality of the music just wasn’t up to standard,” Fey tells me. “Following some talks with my partner Gwendolyn, whose judgement on my demos I really trust, I decided to scrap all the abrasive material I had and start the album over with a short indie pop demo I had already made with my friend denson camp, as the foundation.”
This led to the creation of her latest album, I paint you, I paint you, I paint you. The album derives its name from “Postcard to an almost lover” by Emily Wilson, a poem that Fey’s partner recited to her before dropping her off at a train station. The lyrics traverse the aches and pains of growing up, friendship, and how being in love can alter the way you see the world. This is accompanied by a sprawling sonic palette of eclectic influences. The glistening electronic blips on “grey sheets” draw a parallel to Ecco2k, while “tarot card” oozes wailing pop guitar leads similar to the 1975.
Overall, the album masterfully layers Goth Lipstick’s quintessential computerized soundscapes over indie folk arrangements along the lines of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith. It’s the type of record that anchors the listener, like a ghostly spirit enfolding you in a warm hug and soundtracking long late-night drives downtown that you’ll always remember.
To celebrate the release of I paint you, A Grrrl’s Two Sound Cents caught up with Goth Lipstick to ask about the music that inspired her the most while creating the album. See below for four of her picks and why she chose them.
“Change” – Alex G
I think I started listening to Alex G about a year ago, and this is the song that hooked me. The lyrics feel so profound and impactful while all being very straightforward and simple—I can say the same thing about the guitars there as well. It’s the ultimate folk song, and it’s a mood I wanted to translate over to my album closer. Even the structure is similar, a build to a single, repeating chorus.
“champ” – Jane Remover
Jane’s 2021 record Frailty means more to me every time I listen to it. It’s a genius album, and this little song from its back half contains a gorgeous electronic sound palate that I tried to put my own spin on at various points during I paint you. This record is probably the one I looked to the most in terms of clever production ideas and how to give electronic music that youthful, emotional edge.
“Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” – Car Seat Headrest
The end of “tarot card” is all Car Seat influence. One thing I love the most about his music is the way he makes his choruses explode into these epic screamfests, and this song probably does it the best. Since I started Goth Lipstick, I’ve looked up to Car Seat with such reverence, but in this album cycle I finally decided to try and incorporate some of my favorite things about his music into my own. While I don’t think I can scream the way he does, with the right production on my vocals, I was able to make my screams really pop and fit right in at the end of the penultimate track.
“Metal Heart” – Cat Power
Last semester while I was writing the album, I spent a night with my friend Connie where we shared our favorite sad songs with each other, and this pick of hers has really stuck with me. The production on the guitars just makes me cry. And everything feels a bit disjointed. It’s a reminder that sometimes not playing by the rules of music gives you something more powerful. Looking onward to the next album, I’ll continue to chase how this song makes me feel.
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