"Respect the cunt--I'm a full-grown woman do all my own stunts," growls Macy Rodman on "Grunt," before rapper Mister Wallace cuts to proclaim, "It's my pussy, I can do as I please." Together, the queer collaborators created the Brooklyn bar's answer to an Ariana, Nicki club banger with its sludgy electro production and hip-hop strings that sound like they were lifted from Scott Storch's early 2000's sample kit. Proudly femme, openly sexual and undeniably outsider, "Grunt" is a highlight among nine other bedroom-pop standouts on Rodman's debut full-length album, The Lake, out today.
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The project, released through New York label Sweat Equity, opens with the title track--an industrial, ominous cut--where Rodman slurs her words and warns, "She wants to feed you to the lake." Blood-thirsty and manic, the trans pop star admits, "You were never going to last," closing out the song with violent, tenacious production that throbs like a racing heartbeat in the midst of murder. This dark energy continues through a droning cover of Bruce Springsteen's 1975 classic, "Born to Run," complete with reworked lyrics and a bratty Britney Spears-like chant: "Yes girl, we work!" No stranger to tackling classics, this unlikely pursuit offers the evil step sister to "Landslide" off Rodman's 2016 HELP EP--a synth-pop cover of Fleetwood Mac's '70s single.
After temporarily relieving herself of frustration, "Grunt" acts as sweaty foreplay to "Untitled (S.F.U.B.)"--a dramatically sparse song that sees Rodman repeating the lyric, "I love a skinny fucked up boy," almost to the point of hysteric obsession. "I don't know who I am, I don't know what my name is," she whines, as staccato synths surge and lead directly into The Lake's nu-metal single, "She Will Be a Relic One Day," where Rodman revives the album's underlying existential rage. "Laughing at you covered in flames," she sings, directing her fury at a world that kills trans women and actively keeps them on the fringes. "She always tried to be more, but she will be a relic one day."
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The Lake briefly brightens on "Strawberry Margarita," aptly laced with refreshing steel drums and flirty bubblegum lyrics. "She's a simple girl with simple needs, she wants a strawberry margarita," Rodman coos, flinging the album's most infectious hook six tracks in. This approachable pop edge is matched on the production of "Inside," though its lyrics reflect the LP's larger sinister sheen. "I'm here to die and you're the killer," Rodman moans, fantasizing about what will happen to her murderer after she's slain. "You're gonna burn for this if I'm discovered," she menaces before slipping into an ironic, sunny chorus: "Everything, everything, everything is beautiful today."
"The Room" trades out Rodman's nasally vocals for a guest artist named The CEO, who delivers a bizarre poem with recurring references to babies. "I look down, searching for my legs, but all I see are chubby stumpy baby legs," he says around strangely swirling, topical sounds. This brief track feels like an interlude to The Lake, though its meaning is decidedly ambigous. "I would never lie, I swear," The CEO promises, underlining the earnesty that pervades Rodman's surreal lyrics throughout. She may be singing about fictional scenarios, but her intent is clearly genuine.
A love song for "Martina" edges closer to The Lake's final track, knocking holes in Rodman's villainous facade. "Girls need special things from special people all the time and you were mine," she sings desperately above crashing, competing beats. "You gotta hold me tonight." After navigating through Rodman's complex, transparent psyche--one that began with dreams of drowning a lover--the album's 10th track is a soothing, contemplative cut, fittingly titled, "Keep It Together." Above warm religious organs, the singer repeatedly encourages herself to "Keep it together," as lyrical allusions to water round out The Lake. "I was sea bound, but I took it to the limit," Rodman reflects. "You're underwater."
In the album booklet's liner notes, shared today on Instagram, Rodman thanks herself for "being honest"--a tremendous understatement for an impeccable outsider album that keeps absolutely no secrets from its listeners and unveils every last thought--especially the most brooding, ugly ones that the faint of heart would hide, not only from the world, but from themselves.
Listen to Macy Rodman's The Lake in full, below.