The third single from the Brooklyn maximalist indie-rock band is another song of survival, an account of singer Pagona Kytzidis’s experience in a debilitating romantic relationship
At its best, love is growth. It makes you aware of your beauty and talents and proud of your individualities and idiosyncrasies. It empowers you to stand up and encourages you to stand out. It makes you better and it builds you up.
However, in its most toxic form, love—or rather, what we sometimes mistake for love—can be destructive. It causes damage and doubt, makes you shrink and shy away. It wears you down and it tears you down. It isn’t an earthquake, a cataclysmic event that destroys everything in a split-second, but more like erosion, a process that takes place slowly and steadily, incrementally and often imperceptibly, over time. Until one day you might notice you’re different, and so much smaller, than you used to be.
The latter isn’t love; it’s loss. And it’s exactly this defeat—a surrender to another and abandonment of self—that Brooklyn band partygirl explores in their new single. It’s not about the grieving of a broken relationship but the evolution of an abusive one and an account—and mourning—of what was sacrificed in the desperate attempt to salvage it.
From partygirl, this is “desirable.”
It’s important to note that this sort of topic isn’t an unfamiliar one for partygirl—a one-off piece of commentary, a temporary joining of the conversation or a singular artistic exploration of power and abuse. The project itself is rooted in processing and politics and was formed by singer and Survivor Pagona Kytzidis to grapple with the aftermath of her own assaults—and, beyond that, not simply to express and explore her experiences but to challenge, and attempt to change, the portrayal of Survivors and the misogynistic narrative surrounding sexual violence.
Ahead of the release, the band—helmed by Pagona and longtime collaborator Colby Lamson-Gordon—sent over some background on the ballad and shared the story of the toxic relationship and the painful personal transformation that inspired the song.
“This song is specifically about Kytzidis’s experience in a debilitating romantic relationship and the psychological terror which resulted. Spiritually however, the song is about the internal strife that Survivors must deal with when they’re viewed as pathological and frightening ‘things’ (‘irrational’) rather than as complex people. Narratively, the song is structured around a turning point (‘the last battle in the relationship war’), in a dialectical/Marxist way, where the bad relationship transforms from a power-struggle-based relationship to a power-over/abusive relationship. At this moment, Kytzidis lost the power struggle: where she began to love him at the expense of loving her Self, of being her Self, of being a Self. She erased every intense part of her Self (thus erasing Creativity and Authority) to try to make herself ‘attractive’ enough for him to stay. The song ends as the narrator realizes she surrendered to being a shell, plunging into a resultant Depression.”
“desirable” is out everywhere now. Check it out, along with the band’s first two singles (“i have” and “good night”), and don’t miss partygirl at their album-release show at Our Wicked Lady on Sunday, October 23rd. (Tickets available here.)
Feature image provided by the band.