I don't understand Chairlift's new single "Ch-Ching" and I love it

Chairlift's new album "Moth" comes out in January

Chairlift, 2015
Courtesy of the artist

Occasionally I will get so hooked on a new song that I can’t listen to anything else for a while: I just play it on repeat until I’m absolutely sick of it. I haven’t quite gotten sick of Chairlift’s new single, “Ch-Ching” yet, but it’s for sure that everyone around me is sick of me talking about how damn good it is.

If Chairlift hasn’t been on your indie band radar for a while already, it’s time you change that. Last year I saw them perform at Alcatraz. Yeah, like, the old prison. It was an uncomfortably swanky private show where most of the patrons were several decades older than the band and had no idea who they were. I table-surfed a couple glasses of wine, was side-eyed by the staff, and was one of three people who actually applauded after each song.

Chairlift makes smart synthpop gems that get stuck in your head frighteningly easily, like their hit from 2012 “Bruises” that got more airplay than anything else they’ve done. Since that 2012 album Something, Chairlift hasn’t released any new music as a group — although singer Caroline Polachek released a solo album as Ramona Lisa last year, and bassist/drummer/general soundmaker Patrick Wimberly has been busy in the studio with Das Racist and Solange Knowles in a producer role. This new single for their upcoming album Moth is a promising return and a different direction for the band.

“Ch-Ching” is catchy as all hell, with a more lush sound than their previously stripped-down and simple recordings. There’s more samples and more synth textures going on, and Polachek’s voice is more vocoded than I’ve ever heard it (which is still not much, but noticeable after the almost total lack of vocal effects in their past work). But there are some definite similarities with their past work when it comes to the lyrics: as with many of their tracks, it’s really hard to tell what “Ch-Ching” is about. And I love that. The chorus alone is equal parts sexy and totally mysterious: “Getting what you want can be dangerous/But that’s the only way I want it to be/I double dare you to keep a secret/And pass it back under the table to me/I put the stash in the bookshelf/Open your mouth and I’ll slip you the key/Now crack that combination/27-99-23.” What is she talking about? An affair? An international conspiracy? Is she transmitting a secret numerical code to her reptilian overlords? Or is it totally obvious, and I’m just in the dark?

The music video for “Ch-Ching” is no more enlightening than the lyrics, but does feature an awesome Bollywood-inspired dance number choreographed by Korie Genius and performed by Polacheck.

Chairlift’s new album Moth comes out in January of next year.