Track by Track is a recurring feature series in which artists guide readers through every song on their latest release. Today, Blondshell walks us through her upcoming self-titled debut.
Indie rock artist Blondshell, also known as Sabrina Teitelbaum, has shared an exclusive breakdown of each song on her debut self-titled album one day ahead of its release on April 7th.
On the debut effort, the Los Angeles-based songwriter crafts an organic portrait of herself. Teitelbaum spent years exploring her identity as an artist in the realm of pop before settling on a grunge-inspired record full of forthright observation and reflection. Blondshell is a project rooted in self-discovery, both musically and in terms of the individual growth reflected throughout the album.
Teitelbaum’s ruminations on love, loneliness, and identity capture the tumultuous nature of late adolescence. The track “Dangerous” reflects on Teitelbaum’s experience with social anxiety and how it impacted her relationships after the COVID-19 lockdown.
“A lot of this is about social anxiety. Dating and relationships are a big deal, but I think social anxiety is just as important to address,” Teitelbaum tells Consequence. “I made a lot of new friends right after COVID because of how much my life had changed, and I had this little fear, like, ‘I haven’t really socialized in a year. I’ve been in lockdown. I have social anxiety to begin with, but on top of that, I’ve been trapped in my apartment for a year.’”
The ’90s alt-rock-inspired album was also influenced by the writing of Patti Smith, Rebecca Solnit, Rachel Cusk, and Clare Sestanovich. Teitelbaum navigates the highs and lows of the album with ease, switching between a raspy chest voice and a sheer falsetto at times. Reverb-drenched guitars are layered under Teitelbaum’s vocals, cutting through the tracks with urgency. On songs like “Kiss City” and “Sober Together,” Teitelbaum strips away some of the grittiness — creating ethereal, dream-like melodies that perfectly balance the harder side of the album.
Read Teitelbaum’s Track by Track analysis of Blondshell and stream it in full below.
Beginning in May, Teitelbaum will embark on her first headlining tour of Europe and North America with artists Hello Mary, Girl & Girl, Platonica Erotica, and Oslo Twins performing in support. Get your tickets via StubHub, where orders are 100% guaranteed through StubHub’s FanProtect program. StubHub is a secondary market ticketing platform, and prices may be higher or lower than face value, depending on demand.
Everything on the album’s very literal. All of the lyrics are real things that happened. I was obsessed with the show Veronica Mars as a kid. and I was revisiting it around the time I wrote this song. I wanted to sing about that childhood era when I was being exposed to a lot more than I was comfortable with. “Gimme Shelter” refers to the song, but I’m also saying please give me shelter from graphic TV and film, from New York City, overwhelming lyrics, etc. Some of the other songs are a lot heavier than this, but I think there’s also a lot of hope underneath these songs, even though the content is dark and difficult.
This one feels kind of hopeful to me, and it felt important to start with. With the lyric, “Logan’s a dick/ I’m learning that’s hot” — they made him seem so hot, and he was such an asshole. But I was watching it as a kid and thinking, “That’s attractive.” I think the song is just about having my boundaries crossed and the effects of those transgressions. I’m happy this song comes before any of the songs about dating in the tracklist, because when “Sepsis” comes halfway through the album, that’s the result of learning that being a dick is hot.
I was single in COVID. I was on Hinge, I was on the apps, and I felt this pressure to just be down for everything, to be so casual. But I was absolutely not down for things to be casual. I was like, “I want to fall in love, I want to be in a committed relationship,” but I didn’t feel comfortable saying that to anybody. I wrote this song thinking, “Well, these songs aren’t going to come out anyway. So I can say the embarrassing truth, which is that I care about who I’m sleeping with and who I’m dating, and it’s not casual for me. It actually means a lot to me.”
I was learning about how to talk about my needs. I decided to just say all of them in this song, thinking nobody would hear it. And I think you can hear that musically: It’s kind of like, “Can I say this? Is this okay?” And at the end of the song, it’s like, “All right, fuck it, this is okay.” It feels so liberating to scream all of those lyrics at the end.