There’s magic waiting on the other side of heartache, and Macy Rodman is living proof of that.
If you’ve frequented queer spaces in New York City anytime over the past decade, Macy Rodman is a name and face you’ve likely come across. Since her arrival in New York from Juneau, Alaska in 2008, Rodman has remained a prominent fixture in the queer art and nightlife scene around Brooklyn, from her weekly “drag show for f***ups,” Bathsalts, to her now glow-up of a music career.
Coming to music by way of the New York drag scene, the trans icon has made a name for herself as a captivating creative and performer. She’s dedicated to challenging her audiences well beyond their natural means of consumption. She’s even managed to catch the attention of non-binary superstar Shamir, who recently signed her to his label, Accidental Popstar Records, describing the move as the “best thing” he’s done to date.
“Music has been so important in my journey of self-expression. Becoming a songwriter-producer and developing stage shows has allowed me to do and be whatever I can dream up. And I feel so grateful to get to do what I do,” Rodman told In The Know in a statement. “New York City has always been a huge part of that vision. It’s the place that gave me a context for what performance can be and how powerful it can be to connect with an audience. It’s such a magical place and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Her previous albums, 2017’s The Lake and 2019’s Endless Kindness, showcased a more moody, hard-edged musicality. Macy’s latest record, Unbelievable Animals, comes forward as a bright and healing record, even in the face of romantic ruin.
“I went through a breakup at the beginning of 2020 and had to work out my feelings. So I just banged out a ton of tracks and refined them over the course of a year,” she says of Unbelievable Animals. She wrote it over the course of lockdown, born of a self-imposed challenge to write twenty songs in thirty days following the heartbreaking text message from her lover. He called it quits and admitted to getting back with his ex-love.
“It was towards the end of the journey, I originally had the title ‘Soft + Pink’ floating around while I was making the album. But it sounded too trite. The album is about reflection and studying where I’m at and what my patterns are in romantic relationships. So Unbelievable Animals came to me when looking back at what I’d made,” Macy added. “I saw my life in past loves, laid out in front of me like a Discovery Channel special. And it made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my feelings.”
Here, for the first time in her music, she’s digging deep into her personal experience, crafting parallel worlds and characters in order to better understand her circumstances.
Twelve tracks make up the cohesive and ambitious body of work, a collection of quirky club-kid feeling dance tracks infused with a punk-rock sensibility. It brings to mind divas like Liz Phair and Courtney Love with a little Madonna for good measure.
“I just want you to love me/ I want you to feel the way I do,” Macy declares in her signature warbles, bends and growls that continue to blossom throughout the sugary, propulsive late ‘90s pop-rock soundscape of her lead single “Love Me.”
There’s a healthy amount of cheeky, self-deprecating awareness in each summery step of the collection (even if those real heartfelt emotions get in the way sometimes). This trickles down to her complexity and attitude of healing regarding the record as well. She makes its mission statement quite clear.
“I just hope it can serve the purpose of a breakup album which is to make you feel less alone about your experience,” Macy concludes. “There’s a storied lineage of great pop albums about heartbreak. And the reason they are so effective is that feelings like rejection, loss, and insecurity are visceral and stay with you. A good breakup album can’t take away the pain. But it can give you a roadmap for how to move on.”
A little heartbreak on the dance floor is just what the body needs sometimes. And Unbelievable Animals is some joyous heart-aching queer music — which couldn’t be more essential medicine for the heavy-hearted.
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