Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Caroline Polachek – Bunny Is a Rider

Look, I’ve got certain information. Certain things have come to light, and, you know, has it ever occurred to you that — given the nature of all this new shit, this could be a lot more, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh — pang!


Claire Biddles: “Bunny Is a Rider” is a somewhat disappointing follow-up to Pang, which balanced its percussive moments with lush, dense textures. The minimal set-up of bass/vocals/whistling? is a tantalising start, but I wish it opened up into something more. The song’s titular protagonist is intangible, unknowable, and I feel like I’m watching her, rather than embodying her delicious freedom.

Vikram Joseph: A strange, elliptical escapist fantasy spun across elastic bass and Danny L Harle’s spacey soundscapes, “Bunny Is a Rider” is an intriguing taster of Caroline Polachek’s second album. On first impressions, it pales by comparison to the singles from Pang – not as effervescent as “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”, as spine-chilling as “Ocean Of Tears”, or as transcendent as “Door.” But the blend of tartness and sweetness starts to taste pretty good after a few listens, and there’s a precision to the structure that reassures me that Polachek knows exactly what she’s doing.

Will Adams: Instrumentally, “Bunny Is a Rider” follows up on what made Pang so engaging: it skitters and swoops and whistles and giggles like a baby. But Polachek’s melody is far more restrained. Without her signature vocal acrobatics, we get a song that’s less of an adventure and more a pleasant, steady cruise — or “ride,” if you will.

Dorian Sinclair: I’ve listened to “Bunny Is a Rider” an astonishing number of times trying to figure out what about it isn’t clicking for me. For every choice I do enjoy, there’s another I don’t — the bass is great, but I’m tired of marimba; the whistling is deployed way better than in most songs that use it, but the baby feels unnecessary. There are some great one-off production choices (I’m particularly fond of the sudden spoken intrusion at 1:12), and Polachek sounds good, particularly on the choruses. But ultimately the song feels a little slight.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Get the fuck out of here with this stock music ass bass line. I can’t believe this shit. It’s like they got Primus to produce an Ariana Grande album, like you isolated whatever Flea is playing on “You Oughta Know” and put it right in front of the mix. It’s the second understudy in a touring production of Charlie Puth’s “Attention.” It’s really not very pleasant to listen to. Also, the Earth Day line is very silly.

Katherine St Asaph: Remember when Chairlift’s “Ch-Ching” came out and was very obviously an unused Beyoncé demo despite the duo kind of talking around that fact in interviews, and then they eventually admitted that yeah, OK, it really was? I’m convinced “Bunny Is a Rider” is the same. Danny L Harle’s production sounds nothing like Pang but instead workaday trop-pop with lightly nostalgic early-oughts R&B interludes (around 1:09, for instance). More noticeably, Caroline Polachek sounds nothing like herself for most of the song. Apart from the chorus — which, perhaps tellingly, is not the hook — her vocal sounds a little uninvested, a little too engineered to pop-R&B specs from several years ago. Specifically, she sounds exactly like Drake on the verses — the electronic drawl, the More Life-esque sigh to the melodies. I can see a universe where Caroline took an unused demo and wrote a new chorus — the part where she does sound like herself, where her vocals are more acrobatic and her melodies more diffident. That’s not an insult, really, since “Bunny Is a Rider” being a song by Drake or his imitators would certainly give those verses a harsher gaze — particularly given the incredibly sneering Of Montreal song the title comes from. If true, her more generous chorus would be both a welcome answer song and a nice bit of salvage work. But of course, all of this is wild speculation. There’s a whole world of artists soliciting demos. Maybe Dua Lipa?

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Eerily reminiscent of Rare-era Selena Gomez. Which is to say: agreeable center-left pop which conforms to trends enough to hint at mainstream appeal, while still being able to revel in its own songwriting oddness. 

Reader average: [6.08] (12 votes)

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4 Responses to “Caroline Polachek – Bunny Is a Rider”

  1. Dang, Claire hit pretty precisely on why this one hasn’t been gelling for me, I think.

  2. update: went camping this weekend and at 4am a group of gays on a golf cart drove through the camp shouting “bunny is a rider”…. so bunny is, indeed, a rider

  3. Pitchfork’s Song of the Year(?!)

  4. Odd choice for sure, I like this more than the Jukebox gang did but also agree that it’s far from the best Solochek or Chairlift joint