At the February 2020 Grammys, Logan Lynn walked the red carpet in Gucci black leather and gold Tiffany crosses the size of your palm. He'd been wearing the brand's luxury looks for two years at that point, and would continue to do so—even rocking a Tiffany wrap necklace on the otherwise stark cover of New Money, his first album with Olympia indie label Kill Rock Stars.
"Repping Gucci / dripping Tiffany / And his baby was alright / Yeah, his baby was alright," Lynn sings on the album's first single "Rich and Beautiful." The music video sees Lynn spooning his rescue chihuahua, Pretty Baby, in a high-rise loft with a view, surrounded by enough Jonathan Adler decor to be a showroom, some tastefully placed Tom Ford candles, and a full Gucci wardrobe for himself and his pet.
Depending on your circle, designer fashion is often criticized as a superficial interest of an illusory world. But Lynn rejects these ideas.
“There’s a theme throughout [New Money] of making fun of gentrification," Lynn told the Mercury, "looking cynically at the city’s development—new Portland. But also an acknowledgement that I am part of that. Like, I’m not on the outside looking at the change, I am the change.”
Instead, he sees glitz and glam as a sign of good health and wellness, after 14 years recovering from cocaine and alcohol addiction.
"I didn’t relapse, I’m still in recovery, but—hot damn—I was thirsty, and I wanted to… Every year of the pandemic counts for five,” Lynn said. “More coins, please.”
New Money feels like a bedroom disco record steeped in lockdown-era dread. Many tracks on the album, but especially the first two singles, “Rich and Beautiful” and “Eat&Drink&Smoke&Shop&Fuck,” harken back to the thirstiest months of sheltering in place. The whole thing sounds like a glitzy demo for circuit queen Erika Jayne's turbulent divorce album.
“A person with an addict brain can't let their mind go there, so I let myself explore all that through the songs. So a lot of [New Money] feels terminally horny, and also just really, really wants to party,” Lynn explained.
Whether contrarian or just comfortable with seeming contradiction, Lynn is an artist interested in turning ideas on their heads.
“There’s that line in 'Fuck and Run' by Liz Phair that goes ‘I’m going to spend my life alone,’ Lynn says of a song he covered on the album. "Originally it’s sad, but we made it a celebratory call. There's a reclamation of the loneliness and the isolation of it all."
So New Money confidently strode onto the market earlier this year, boasting downers turned uppers, and perhaps no more so than on a cover of "Baby Britain" by Elliot Smith—a man Lynn calls his friend and someone he remembers not for sadness, but for craft.
“I think of him as a masterful songwriter. He had unmatched skill around hooks." Lynn said. "My desire with ‘Baby Britain’ is to just really lean into that, and pull out some of the pop. He wrote a perfect song, so we just really wanted to party with that one.”
However, while he’s picked out state-of-the-art Danish lasers for the shows he has planned, Lynn hasn't yet ventured out onto the road in support of New Money.
“My focus is always on community and making sure everyone feels safe and celebrated. When you’re walking downtown, it doesn’t feel like that’s what we’ve done,” Lynn said. “Part of what I want to say around these songs is, ‘Let’s do better.’ New Portland is fine, but this thing where we’ve left a bunch of these people behind is not fine.”
While Lynn says he has enough career stability and pre-existing health conditions to not rush back on the road, that didn't stop him from streaming a live record release at the Dandy Warhols' Odditorium in May. Invites only went to fans and Lynn said everyone onsite was vaccinated, boosted, and PCR tested. "We have managed to keep everyone safe thus far by treating these moments with extra care and creating a bubble for the folks with disabilities and pre-existing conditions to still be front and center with us."
If that stream sounds like the unapologetic embrace of remote glamor that you deserve, Kill Rock Stars plans to re-stream it at the end of June, as part of a series of Pride livestream events. Details as well as lists of other virtual events from their catalog of artists can be found on the Kill Rock Stars Instagram.
Also dropping during Pride Month magic hour, Kill Rock Stars will release an EP of New Money remixes, titled Other People's Money, on Thursday, June 30—containing reworkings by enigmatic alt acts like Xiu Xiu, JD Samson, and Man on Man.
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