“Without Love”: Don’t Tell Alice Glass What to Swallow

The former Crystal Castles frontwoman makes her solo return in the form of “Without Love” — and she’s done with being tied down.

Alice Glass is the former frontwoman of Crystal Castles. Now, she’s out here doing her own thing in 2017 — which is, well, a relatable move. (Yes, MuuMuse is officially coming out of semi-retirement after two years, starting this month. Shake and cry accordingly.)

Two years after serving up her initial solo offering, 2015’s “Stillbirth,” with which she donated all proceeds to domestic abuse charities, Glass is back at it with an ominous new single called “Without Love” out this week, co-crafted with Jupiter Keyes, formerly of Health.

“Without Love” plays like a response to a few things: an abusive relationship from her past that she’s been vocal about, parting ways with Crystal Castles, and her public spats with former bandmate, Ethan Kath, regarding her actual involvement in their work.

Backed by a demented beat that wouldn’t be all that out of place on the soundtrack of IT, the fragile-voiced crooner pierces through the dooming beats and stark synths with her sugary-sweet voice. (Lord knows, I’m a sucker for a stuttering effect.)

As the instant onslaught of YouTube comments pointed out pretty instantly, the gloom-pop track sounds like a few familiar acts: Grimes and Purity Ring, mainly. I also get a hint of Lights at her most emo, and Charli XCX in her grittier “Stay Away” days — can’t say I don’t still miss that era.

Am I worth it or am I worthless? / And will I ever figure it out? / Sold myself to him / Be your own victim,” she proclaims.

In the song’s most direct moment, she goes in for the kill with a direct burn in the bridge: “Tell me where to spit / Don’t tell me what to swallow,” she declares before a brief pause, flipping the title of her own Crystal Castles track, “Tell Me What to Swallow,” on its head.

That’s one musical middle finger if I’ve ever heard one.

The accompanying Floria Sigismondi-directed video, a blend of nature and bondage, is a thorny, colorful affair as vines keep Glass constricted. Heavy subject matter aside, it’s certainly the stuff of aesthetic Tumblr dreams. (An amazing thing: Sigismondi is a prolific director, and shot Christina Aguilera‘s ahead-of-her-time “Fighter” video, among many other standouts.)

Alice Glass will be out on the road with the one and only Marilyn Manson later this fall along with putting on some solo shows of her own, with more music set to come later this year.

And from the sound of it, she’s just getting started sharing her own side of the story.

“Without Love” was released on August 10. (Apple Music / Spotify)

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