Other than saying the word ‘billions’ with maximum pathos, the great astronomer Carl Sagan holistically described humankind’s minuscule, miraculous place within the immense cosmic workings. Caroline Polachek seems to approximate a similar kind of disposition on her spectacular new single “Billions”.
Like her previous banger “Bunny Is A Rider”, the track rides on a very cryptic innuendo, unconcerned about rolling out palatable reveals. In the striking music video, Polachek at one point shows a picture book to a bunch of children outlining the phrase: “The earthly cord was cut / and we are orphans of the universe / Thunder is no longer the voice of God / Lightning is no longer a moralizing mission / Knowledge is no longer shaped like a snake / What’s left of the alphabet is deep underground / in places without faces / Everything we want will require unfathomable violence / but contradictions are nothing new / the youness is the newness.”
Considering the video’s quasi-religious impressionism, “Billions” somehow strikes like a monumental feeling of some kind of new genesis. There are references to Greek mythology (such as the Cornucopia), but also quite unsettling imagery of “headless angels dead on arrival”. Accordingly, the song displays an alluring shape-shifting quality, thanks to Danny L Harle’s cavernous, fluid electronic wizardry and the properly eerie culmination of London’s Trinity Boys & Girls Choir.
Polachek says of the song: “The overabundance of this world overwhelms me. Sometimes it seems like an ultimate tragedy, the earth being pillaged and destroyed for it.Sometimes it seems pre-human, beyond morality, sublime. I don’t pick sides, I just live here, with you. How does it feel, being so rich?”