Cassandra Jenkins – “Pygmalion”

Jen Steele

Cassandra Jenkins – “Pygmalion”

Jen Steele

Last year, the great New York singer and songwriter Cassandra Jenkins released her stunning LP An Overview On Phenomenal Nature, one of our favorite albums of the year. She also came out with a companion-piece record and a couple of covers. Today, as part of the celebration surrounding Secretly Canadian’s 25th anniversary, Jenkins has come out with a brand-new stand-alone single.

Jenkins’ new song “Pygmalion” is inspired by the Greek myth of the sculptor who falls in love with the statue that he made. She recorded it at Abbey Road, with members of the Scottish band Lylo backing her up. It’s a big, spacey, slow-building rock song that’s quietly commanding. Jenkins’ voice is low-key and deadpan, but it sounds awesome over rising drones. Here’s what Jenkins says about the song:

The lyrics in this song revisit the story of Pygmalion, the Greek mythological figure who, scornful towards women, falls in love with an ivory statue of his own making. When the sculpture comes to life, they live happily ever after. Through today’s lens, we might view this as a tale of an incel who falls for his ivory sex doll, and one that lacks any trace of the female voice. I wanted to give the statue a chance to speak, and to address Pygmalion directly as he begins to carve her likeness according to his vision.

The result is short and bittersweet, expressing part menace, sarcasm, and exhaustion, and part lucidity. I wrote it in a moment when I was frustrated by a relationship, and recorded it while I was on tour (at Abbey Road Studios). I was thinking about how easy it is to box each other into molds and to impose our solipsistic ideals upon other people, only to be disappointed when they exhibit their true character. In that equation, everyone misses out, and there’s so much more to be gained from burning down ancient ideals. This song aims to strike the match.

Listen to “Pygmalion” below.

“Pygmalion” is out now on Secretly Canadian, and all proceeds go to the Bloomington emergency-housing nonprofit New Hope For Families. Check out our recent feature on Cassandra Jenkins here.

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