Eight years ago, a teenaged Chloe Moriondo was uploading ukulele-backed cover songs on YouTube, performing sweet renditions of her favorite songs by Twenty One Pilots, My Chemical Romance, and classics like “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” But everyone grows up, and every artist begins to narrow in on their creative identities at a different pace; for Moriondo, who uses she/they pronouns, her biggest statement arrived last year with Blood Bunny, a fully-formed sophomore effort that showcased their emo instincts with indie balladry and pop rock gems.
Come Friday, October 7th — nearly 18 months after the release of Blood Bunny — Moriondo will unleash their third album, the exuberant SUCKERPUNCH. Perhaps the biggest left turn is Moriondo’s embracing of one style: hyperpop. Crystalline vocals are almost entirely filtered through autotune, songs cave in on themselves to form glitchy, gargantuan drops; their music is now more in conversation with late 2000s pop and hip-hop than ever before. If you thought Moriondo sounded supremely confident on Blood Bunny, get ready for them to up the ante, test their limits, and bring a brash, occasionally foolish sensibility to their songwriting.
Of course, Moriondo’s bombastic SUCKERPUNCH turn is not even a “rebrand” — it’s a testament to artists in our modern music climate being unshackled by the typical constraints of the industry. In a different time, Moriondo’s artistic identity may have been up to the people selling her records, but now, she’s allowed to explore genres and styles at whatever pace and cadence she chooses. Even Moriondo’s label, Public Consumption/Fueled By Ramen — the latter of which is known primarily for pop-punk bands like All Time Low and Twenty One Pilots — has shifted its strategy, encouraging cross-pollination between genres and embracing artists with a more internet-centric, alternative pop style.
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So it’s fitting that Moriondo dials up the volume and chaos levels for her third record, and the resulting tracks are some of her most gripping to date. Lead single “Fruity” is as sugary as its namesake, but she juxtaposes her autotuned crooning with a turbo charged beat and gang vocals that make a line like “super cutie/ fresh and fruity” seem intimidating. “Hotel For Clowns” is an eerie, borderline unhinged horror song that plays on the slasher iconography of Blood Bunny and dials it up to 12. And album highlight “Celebrity,” which serves as one of SUCKERPUNCH‘s tender centers, shows Moriondo grappling with the reality of fame over a dreamy anti-drop.
Many of these songs call to mind the spirit of Kesha, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, while also channeling 100 gecs’ absurd, hyper-saturated hip-hop beats and Ashnikko’s colorful braggadocio. But Moriondo maintains that SUCKERPUNCH is meant to be a conglomeration of sounds: “There’s a lot of one-off songs that were just on the radio that I listened to growing up, and they all kind of mixed together to make this crazy, weird, alien pop album.”
And though it’s a bit of a change from Moriondo’s usual fare, they’re confident that their fans will still be enthusiastic about the new direction. “People change,” Moriondo tells Consequence, “and I think a lot of the people in my audience have grown with me.”
Ahead of the release of SUCKERPUNCH, Consequence sat down with Moriondo to discuss her new sonic direction, a busy 2022 on the road, and what might come next for one of the most exciting young pop artists around. Read the full Q&A below.