After spending nearly twenty years playing with the Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and The Vivian Girls, Frankie Rose is making a flashy solo splash with a fresh form, aesthetic, and purpose.
Today she shares a new single and video, “Sixteen Ways,” the second from her forthcoming new album, Love As Projection. This sparkling synth-pop gem brims with a glistening chorus and hypnotic vocals. Frankie Rose wanted a very specific 80s aesthetic for the video, which was directed by choreographer 80sBaby (Neil Schwartz) and ESPTV (Scott Kiernan). The result is something akin to a fuzzy memory from a long-ago day off school on PBS. Its solid Children’s Television Workshop vibe, mixed with early MTV and the surreal psychedelia of 1970s variety shows, makes it difficult to pinpoint the decade of the song and the video alike. Rose’s love of new wave hooks and post-punk drive remain omnipresent, elevated by her utilization of modern production and an improved, polished palate of state-of-the-art instrumentation. Rose’s transcendent melody and conversational vocals makes easy comparisons to Strawberry Switchblade, Xmal Deutschland, and Altered Images. It is retro-futurism with a delightful twinge of nostalgic warmth that squarely hits core memories of the Xennial set. The timeless costuming and modern dance also bolster the ethereal track.
“I trusted them completely and just let them create a world for me,” says Rose. “The result is a video that feels like a fever dream in the black lodge complete with my very own machine elves.”
Dancers Dainique Jones, Misato Obana, Youlmae Kim, and Shion Uesaka move their way through a kaleidoscopic hyperspace in colourful facepaint and turtlenecks. “I wanted to make sure that the movement matched the aesthetic and wanted to create clean lines focusing more toward the upper body,” says Schwartz. “We focused on the arms to create flowing pictures that would match and compliment the synths, beats, and vocals…I wanted to give individuality movement to each dancer, while still including a cohesive sea of flowing colors that complemented each dancer, to bring about a visual harmony of pictures and shapes.”
Watch the video for “Sixteen Ways” below:
Overall, Frankie Rose’s new album Love As Projection boasts a widescreen scope: after gestating for half a decade, it has culminated in a collection of the most personal and accessible art-pop that Frankie Rose has ever written. It was recorded with producer Brandt Gassman and mixed with long-term collaborator Jorge Elbrecht. It’s more than a rebirth, a refinement, a resurgence – it’s a culmination of influence, a newly-defined scope using the tools at her disposal, a long-form project that was heavily considered for half of a decade – resulting in the most personal and accessible collection of art-pop that Frankie has delivered yet.
“This album is about having to focus our collective energies on the small things that we can control, in order to find joy,” says Rose. “A distraction from the larger systemic problems that feel so overwhelming and are so very out of our collective hands…for now.”
Love as Projection is out on March 10, 2023.
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Photo by Esme Rogers Smith