Miya Folick dives into human emotion on brand-new album 'Roach'

In Miya Folick’s new record ‘Roach’, she doesn’t refer to the album’s title until halfway through the tracklist. The song is ‘Cockroach,’ a self-produced ripper that starts with droning synthesizers and bursts into dizzying drums. She sings “Crush me under the weight / Bitterness, jealousy, hate / Cause I’m a fucking cockroach and you can’t kill me.” It’s a fitting image, dropped right into the middle of an album that stares you straight in the eye. On ‘Roach’, Miya shares her ugliness, her joy, her struggle, all of it, and does so in a way that lets you know it’s okay. That there’s going to be messiness, but she’ll get through it, and that’s okay.

Listening to the finished songs — which are earnest and raw, with plenty of huge hooks and dark comedy — it’s immediately obvious that all her effort and experimentation was worth it. ‘Bad Thing,’ which Miya co-wrote with Mitski and Andrew Wells and produced with Gabe Wax, is a paradoxically blissed-out burst of dancefloor-ready melancholia, its frank lyrics about the hazards of hedonism. Functioning like a thesis statement for roach’s narrative of personal transformation: “This time I will take it slowly / Say no to everything I don’t need.” Here, and all across the record, Miya’s percussive diction steers the song’s momentum, proof that her voice is a singularly prolific instrument, even when it’s not doing gravity-defying acrobatics.

‘Roach’ is an exhilarating mix of sounds and styles, an eclecticism that reflects Miya’s increased writerly confidence and playful disposition. With its pulsing drums (Sam KS), head-banging guitars (Greg Uhlmann), and unflinching lyrics, “Get Out of My House” is pure punk catharsis, a better-off-without-you breakup song designed for thrashing around your bedroom like no one’s watching.

Otherworldly saxophones (Sam Gendel) and a soulful bass (Sam Wilkes) bring magic to “Mommy”, a song that Miya self-produced in her bedroom and then brought to Gabe Wax for the finishing touches. “Mommy” is a folky trip-hop meditation on ancestry.

The Matias Mora- produced “Cartoon Clouds” is glitchy bedroom-pop, delicate and handmade with a beat that will hit you square in the chest. “I felt like people wanted me to choose one, ‘Either you’re an indie girl or you’re a pop girl,’” Miya says, reflecting on past production experiences. “But I don’t think those distinctions matter anymore; I just want a song to feel true to itself.” 

The Chicago songwriter Gia Margaret adds piano to the acoustic atmosphere of “Ordinary,” a soulful track that recalls Mazzy Star’s wide-open dream-folk. “Our life is small but it’s big enough for me,” Miya croons, over a bed of lush bass (Patrick Kelly). It’s an ode to a less-chaotic way of living. Like a lot of creatively restless minds, Miya has always felt drawn to intensity: intense emotions, intense people, intense experiences. These new songs aren’t about banishing that excitement from her life — they celebrate finding it in more tender, more forgiving places. “Rather than finding joy in rushing into things, I’m finding joy in patience, in quiet, in getting to know somebody slowly. I’m letting myself pause,” she explains.

“Tetherball,” a sweeping song that begins with Miya’s vocal alone and builds into a churning dance beat with hooky synths, is the second time Miya invokes the album’s title. But this time it’s a quieter triumph. It’s an image of Miya sitting in a car, curled up like a roach, finally speaking her truth, asking for another start.

‘Roach’ is a tribute to perseverance, to messiness, to stillness, to resilience. It’s a real achievement — a gorgeous, labored-over time capsule of life’s pains and joys.

Stream Miya Folick's new album 'Roach' here

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