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True Romantic

by Ziemba

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    Second pressing on black vinyl, comes with a download code.

    Track Listing:
    1. If I'm Being Honest
    2. True Romantic
    3. Harbor Me
    4. Bad Love
    5. Feelings Are Real
    6. You Feel Like Paradise
    7. Mama
    8. Brazil
    9. Casket and Cradle
    10. Power of Love

    About True Romantic:

    As children we’re bombarded with images of what love is supposed to look like: heteronormative relationships, fairy tale endings, infatuated love songs. We can try to eschew the brainwashing, to unleash our imaginations, but some of it inescapably becomes part of us. That’s, in some ways, what Kladzyk confronts on True Romantic: realizing what elements of this conditioning have become part of her, reckoning with all of those encoded ideas about what love is supposed to be and trying to process them.

    “Did I imagine it all?” wonders Kladzyk, staring down the reality of a short-lived romance flickering out, on the album’s dreamy opener. It’s heavy with hopes raised too soon, as she wonders where things all went wrong. “I don’t trust my sense of time / I may have got it mixed up in my mind,” she sings. “If I’m Being Honest” was written “after someone I was just beginning to develop feelings for ghosted me and disappeared off the face of the earth.” It’s followed by “True Romantic,” the album’s galloping title track, full of tension and anticipation where Kladzyk is making sense of it all still. “I must be a true romantic,” she realizes, in awe. “Or a fool... or delusional!” she belts, backed by booming live drums, velvety riffs, fluttering synths and flute. The video is perfectly melodramatic, starring Kladzyk up at night pouring over love notes, spliced with backlit, windblown portraits.

    True Romantic is a reminder that at heart, Kladzyk is a vocal stylist whose arrangements defy categorization. Over the past decade, her expansive, multisensory and multidisciplinary creative process has bridged music and performance, writing and visual art, as well as experiments in making fragrances to accompany sonic environments. She has often used albums as jumping off points for something much bigger: to create worlds incorporating architectural influences, theatre performances, set design, aesthetic framings and color theories. Her 2019 record ARDIS was inspired by “speculative science fiction, feminist geography, and the feeling of ecstasy that can happen when a bunch of people are singing together.”

    In a radical shift for Kladzyk, True Romantic is one thing: a record. “I made this record because it felt good on a gut level,” she explains. But it is no less ambitious than her previous work, it’s just that here, her intricate conceptual project seems to be processing the surreal experience of realizing you’re a person with feelings that you cannot ignore any longer. In a way, it also serves as a sort of meta commentary on the ways pop love propaganda has seeped its way into her subconscious ideas about romance and relationships, told through her own surreal study of the bombastic power ballad. True Romantic finds her channeling her childhood love of Celine Dion (“The Power of Love”), referencing the 1998 romantic fairy tale drama Ever After (“Bad Love”), singing lines pulled straight from her diary (“Feelings Are Real”). In her own words, it’s about “sitting with really embarrassing feelings, and then giving myself a pep talk that it’s okay to do that.”

    For True Romantic, Kladzyk’s vocal-and-piano driven songs were brought to life in the studio, her first time credited as a producer on every track. She worked with two different groups—one in NYC and one in DC—who hail from vastly different corners of the music world: co-producer Don Godwin (Too Free, Gauche, Clear Channel), and contributors including guitarist Mike Haldeman (Moses Sumney, Altopalo) and saxophonist Jeff Tobias (Sunwatchers, Thee Reps, Modern Nature), producer/synthesist Kiri Stensby (Eartheater), and many others.

    Since making True Romantic, Kladzyk has relocated to her teenage hometown, El Paso, TX, where she works as a journalist for a local newsroom covering the US/Mexico border. And over the past few years, her creative practice has expanded to include writing and reporting, including advocacy on behalf of musicians fighting for a fairer and more transparent industry. To that end, it would be impossible for her to not view the album’s stark vulnerability through a politicized lens.

    “I’m resentful of how frequently people frame emotionality in opposition to rationality,” she says. “As though emotional depth isn’t part of being a rational person. I feel compelled to defend emotional expression as valid and needed expression. The emotion vs. reason dichotomy is a direct consequence of patriarchal thinking… It’s okay to be a baby sometimes, and let it out— to wear your heart on your sleeve as they say.”

    Includes unlimited streaming of True Romantic via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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1.
If I’m being honest with myself, I’m heartbroken over you I haven’t known you long but I can tell that I’m pinning too much on you It hurts to feel like I could care I’m trying to not to but I can’t stop I want to know how you’re doing and be there If I’m being honest with myself, I’m too dramatic in times like these Keep tiptoeing right up to the edge of impossible feelings I wish I had control over this It makes me feel very small That you might think I’m insignificant That you might not care at all Did I imagine it all? I don’t trust my sense of time I may have got it mixed up in my mind And I want to know I don’t want to think about the end, I want only beginnings Deep inside my fantasy where I’m most comfortable living It’s not like I’ve never known love, but every time I fall, I fall so far
2.
You say it was a waste of time and oh, how we tortured each other You say that it’s impossible, we never could figure how to be together You say love isn’t enough We’re too unstable And how about I find an accountant? That’s what you said to me The kind who could counterbalance, and make life so easy You say love isn’t enough How could I even believe it could work out I must be a true romantic I must be a true romantic I must be a true romantic I didn’t give up Remember when you rigged above the door to make a cascade of flowers? Or when we laughed about cereal for what seemed like hours? How is it possible? You’d rather be alone I don’t know what my life should be And there’s reasonable people all around me Their life makes sense, love makes sense too Honey we got love, but nothing makes sense with you Nothing makes sense with you They say love isn’t enough We’re too unstable I must be a true romantic I must be a true romantic I must be a true romantic I didn’t give up I must be a true romantic (or a fool!) I must be a true romantic (or delusional!) I must be a true romantic I didn’t give up
3.
Harbor Me 02:35
I’ve been running all along, no road no home and all the time Fire at the opera, a cigarette I won’t forget Hoping you want me to stay with you a time Unfailingly trying to keep you outta my mind Warring times, warring times Happily the fates aligned, I was in a pool of relief Harmony is evident not thinking that you want to leave Don’t believe what I say I was playing cool If I lie I will make it into something true Have to let what it is happen easily I could change, I could change for you Harbor me, harbor me I’ve been leaning on my fate, I’m running the wrong way I’ve been scared of fairy tales, I’m telling you to hold me back Every time I think about what happened to what got left out Holding me I want it back I want anew I won’t forget I won’t forget, I won’t forget, I won’t forget, I won’t forget
4.
Bad Love 03:39
Bad kisses under moonlight Bad advances on the floor Bad looks across a crowded room Bad love is all I know Bad whispers in the movie show Bad touches of the hand Bad lovers making bad plans Bad love is all I have Oh it’s bad love, bad love, bad love Bad wishes in bad wishing wells Bad dreams most every night Bad hearts following bad advice This love is not alright A fish can love a turtle dove But they’ve nowhere to live And a turtledove can’t take a heart The fish don’t wanna give Oh it’s bad love, bad love, bad love Do you remember Those days we spent rolling around But now I’ll never be good again Now that you’re gone Only bad love, bad love, bad love
5.
I prefer the dream to the real Can’t deny the way that I feel And feelings are real, feelings are real
6.
You’re a doll and I’m a devil, Begging at your heels. Won’t you take me to your strange world? I wanna know how it feels. How am I supposed to know, unless we go? Don’t be scared to be consumed, Just take a step out of time. Close the door to your bedroom, And let me into your mind. Oh my, isn’t this nice? Oh my-- Is this heaven? You feel like paradise! I like your paradise. Tender monster under your bed, Lost in forget-me-not eyes. Let me stay here tucked in your head, And let me breathe in your sighs. I’ll hold you close and kiss you slow Hold you close and kiss you slow-- Let me stay here in your heaven Cuz you feel like paradise! And I like your paradise. I wanna stay here in your heaven Cuz you feel like paradise! And I like your paradise.
7.
Mama 03:01
Mama I don’t know what I got to do for you But I got to do for you something more Mama tell me how to help you in your need I’m begging you please, tell me how Ask and you’ll receive I’m begging you please Mama I don’t know what it’s gonna be for you But I’m here, I’m here for you anyhow Mama I believe you are better than you know And I’m trying to show you how Help yourself believe You’ve got more than you see
8.
Brazil 03:15
Brazil, where hearts were entertaining june We stood beneath an amber moon And softly murmured “Someday soon…” We clung together there Tomorrow was another day The morning found me miles away And still a million things to say Now when the twilight dims the sky above Recalling thrills of our love There’s one thing I’m certain of, Return I will, to old Brazil
9.
The dawn is rumbling unaware Conquering rose, clinging ringing rose Bouquets of flowers in the air Ruffled skirts and dainty ornaments of metal Casket and cradle, casket and cradle The word chrysanthemum so warm inside Suffering sounds divorce voluptuous delight And the dying flesh of crystals Images of the mesmerizer Once I grew tired of crying I fell asleep Ooh, casket and cradle, casket and cradle, casket and cradle Psyche and Cupid, nocturnal rose of the body And bunny rabbits we’re imagining Caught up in a nightmare regime Of virtual reality Casket and cradle-- once I grew tired of crying I fell asleep-- casket and cradle Casket and cradle-- once I grew tired of crying I fell asleep-- casket and cradle Casket and cradle-- once I grew tired of crying I fell asleep
10.
I can’t remember the last time I wrote a letter Letters mean something precious to me I want to tell you I know you don’t want to hear it Don’t want to talk about it But you better know I want to love you ‘til the end of time I want to be the real thing Whether you like it or not, I know better I want to hear your voice I want to bear witness Through the power of my love for you My life is empty and without meaning I can’t move on and I don’t want to try I don’t care that it’s hard I don’t care that it’s inconvenient You don’t want to talk about it You never want to want to talk about it But you better know I want to love you ‘til the end of time I want to be the real thing Whether you like it or not, I know better I want to hear your voice I want to bear witness Through the power of my love for you

credits

released September 25, 2020

All songs written by René Kladzyk, with the exception of Brazil, written by Ary Barroso

Produced by René Kladzyk, Harbor Me and (You Feel Like) Paradise co-produced by Don Godwin

2020 Sister Polygon Records

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FEELINGS ARE REAL

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