Six years is enough time for an album to grow into urban legend. Until now, Sky Ferreira’s fabled Masochism had been all but written off, be it from developmental hell, assorted record industry bullshit, or a testing relationship with public life. Consider “Downhill Lullaby”, Ferreira’s first solo output since Kevin Rudd was in office, the levee breaking, with enough force to set hype levels back to 2013. It’s maximalist shoegaze, channeling all her frustrations and every corner of the studio into a dark deluge.
The burden is shared with Danish violinist Nils Grondahl, who introduces the track with cinematic strings sprung from somewhere between Westworld and the haunted tundras of the Revenant. Ferreira matches his iciness with every foggy syllable, marching through the stomping percussion with determined malaise. She told Pitchfork she wanted the song to sound like it was “being suffocated by plastic”, an effectively dark comparison for a song so steeped in confusion and anger. She got her wish: there’s hardly a discernable lyric (it won’t work at Karaoke) but there’s no denying her intent. She’s pissed, she’s back, she’s got a darker side to show to the world.