With irony at each turn, Bleach makes a musical out of the chaotic and circus-esque nature of modern life and big city living.
Words: Lloyd Bolton | Photo: Brennan Bucannan
Doing Really Well, Thanks, the latest single from Ellie Bleach makes a musical out of the chaos of modern city life. She draws together its sleaze, glamour and artifice to frame the travails of her central character, who appears at once vulnerable and instinctively cynical, doing her best to stay afloat in this world. The track is perhaps Bleach’s most accomplished to date, with a more developed pop sound matching her consistently inventive songwriting.
The opening moves masterfully through images and ideas. As we switch from the speaker’s parents’ house to the tube, the image of the ‘hall of mirrors’ brings out the circus quality of the song, which fits the smiling, manic piano line. It prepares our subconscious for the surreal and perfect association of commuters in suits with ‘restaurant bread’. As the track settles into its overlapping refrains, the grandeur of its setting with its ‘spiral staircase’ and ‘chandelier’ is anchored in the showtune style in which these things are presented.
While earlier releases like Jackie O and Leave Me Alone have offered equally brilliant turns of phrase and manipulations of ideas, they have been presented via a more spartan sound. This song, along with 2020’s He Bought Me Nikes, builds on the pop leanings of Bleach’s melodies to dress her fantastic lyricism in an appropriately full sound, a shift similar to that found on recent singles by smart-pop peer Platonica Erotica. Without wanting to pun on the ironic appropriacy of its title to the creative project, Doing Really Well, Thanks is the best of all that has been implied in Ellie Bleach’s existing catalogue. It cements her transition from witty bedroom songwriter to the complete package, a towering pop music force that you cannot afford to ignore. Doing Really Well, Thanks arrives via Sad Club Records.