Desire, I Want To Turn Into You: Caroline Polachek’s Nonconformist Masterpiece


Amelia Knust

Caroline Polachek, an alternative/electronic star, just dropped her second album, Desire, I Want To Turn Into You, an ode to falling in love through the perils of life. Read more for in-depth analysis and review.

Amelia Knust, Staffer

This past Valentine’s Day, Caroline Polachek dropped her highly anticipated sophomore album: Desire, I Want To Turn Into You. Polachek released her well-received debut album, Pang, in 2019 but has been evolving with different genres of music since 2007. Since the release of Pang, she has mainly released experimental, pop-infused music, but there truly is no boundary or specific genre to encapsulate her work. Polachek’s vocal technique is unique, as she can quickly jump from siren-like, resonant high notes to flawless belts. In Desire, I Want To Turn Into You, Polachek shares a story about the journey of opening up to someone and falling in love, all while transcending the usual rules of music. Read below for a track-by-track analysis of the album. 

Welcome To My Island

As one of my favorite tracks, there is no other word to describe this song than explosive. “Welcome To My Island” opens with an acapella belt, with the end containing a two-octave drop as Polachek shows off her impressive range. The song provides the perfect introduction to the album, as Polachek talks about wanting to let someone into her “island”- which serves as a metaphor for her life- but still being haunted by the doubts of her own mind. The track is one of the most pop-sounding tracks in her discography, with radiant synths, perfect harmonies, and an electrifying guitar solo from Polachek herself.

Pretty In Possible

With the addicting adlibs throughout the song, it is impossible not to be fascinated by this track. The lyrics almost serve as Polachek’s train of thought, as they are cryptic to everyone except for herself. “Pretty In Possible” ends with gorgeous strings composing an unconventional but intriguing song.

Bunny Is A Rider

As the first official single of Desire, I Want To Turn Into You, “Bunny Is A Rider” serves as an anthem for finding contentedness in being unavailable to others. In an interview with Pitchfork, Polachek explained the song: “Bunny is slippery, impossible to get ahold of. Maybe it’s a fantasy, maybe it’s a bad attitude. But anyone can be bunny, at least for three minutes and seventeen seconds”. The song is genuinely addicting from the catchy lyrics, added-in whistling throughout the track, and bass performance of producer Danny L. Harle. 


“Sunset” provides a cultural shift to the album, as it contains Spanish, Italian, and Romanian influences in the instrumental and melody. The track is one of the most upbeat additions to Polachek’s discography, as it mirrors the structure of flamenco through the drums and claps within the song. “Sunset” is about wanting to run away with a lover, perhaps a more romantic version of “Bunny Is A Rider.”

Crude Drawing Of An Angel

“Crude Drawing Of An Angel” draws the most similarities to the style of her first album, Pang. The background music is subdued, but Polachek’s smooth vocals, whistles, and sound effects mix to create an out-of-body experience for the listener. The experimental side of Polachek’s music is brought out heavily in this song, as the lyrics mixed with the strange instrumentation provoke an eerie effect.

I Believe

As one of the most passionate songs on the album, “I Believe” primarily combines synths and orchestral sounds to create a song about immortality and believing in the impossible. The track is dedicated to the late SOPHIE, a producer who helped pave the way for the micro-genre of hyper pop and one of Polachek’s good friends. Polachek’s tribute can be seen through the electronic beat in the underlying instrumentals throughout the song, a staple of SOPHIE’s music. 

Fly To You (feat. Grimes and Dido)

To fans of purely experimental and electronic music, this song is right up your alley. “Fly To You” pleasantly reminded me of Grime’s work in Art Angels, but the song also perfectly mixed with Polachek and Dido’s vocal contributions. While the track has a sonically different direction than the rest of the album, the lyrical content keeps up with the trend of love, as it describes how all tension will melt away when you are with the right person.

Blood And Butter

The feeling that “Blood And Butter” evokes is viscerally euphoric, as Polachek sings about falling deeper in love than she would have ever believed. The guitar on the chorus is brilliant, and the bagpipe solo near the end adds so much to the already captivating song. As she sings in the chorus, “Let me dive / Through your face / To the sweetest kind of pain” and “Oh I get / Closer than your new tattoo,” Polachek truly transports her listeners into a world of desire, the primary intent of the whole album.

Hopedrunk Everasking

In a song that sonically reminded me of Polachek’s “Insomnia” from Pang, “Hopedrunk Everasking” serves as not only an interlude of the album but an interlude between life and death. Lines like “Centuries come and go / They’ll find our bones / And yet / They won’t” showcase Polachek’s ease to create a calming yet unsettling mood from her music. 

Butterfly Net

“Butterfly Net” once again shows how much Polachek understands how to create the perfect mix of unique instrumentation and soothing vocals while having no specific structure. The metaphorical poetry of this song is not missed, as Polachek sings about trying to capture something unattainable, with the song’s hook being “There I was / With my butterfly net / Trying to catch your light.” 


As a fan favorite track, “Smoke” describes the feeling of trying to be in control when it is impossible. The lyrics are inspiring in their own way, and the verse’s melody is genuinely addicting. “Smoke” once again brings out that euphoric feeling that only artists like Polachek can truly emanate, and it is a track not to be missed.


Polachek closes the album with the brilliant track “Billions,” which arguably has some of the best songwriting in her discography. The song is stylistically unique, with seven verses, two choruses, and a choral outro. “Billions” is about feeling at peace knowing you have reached a level of closeness with someone that cannot be replicated with anyone else. There is something so romantic and poetic about the fact the album opens with “Welcome To My Island,” a track about being nervous to fully let someone see your real personality, and closes with “Billions,” where the outro repeats “I’ve never felt so close to you” until the music slowly fades into silence.