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Art-pop auteur Lydia Ainsworth yearns for genuine connection on “Tell Me I Exist,” the second single from her forthcoming album Phantom Forest. The self-produced album, Ainsworth’s third, arrives on May 10, following her 2017 album Darling of the Afterglow and her 2014 debut Right from Real.
“Tell Me I Exist” has all the slick, glittering beauty of a smartphone screen awash in light, that endless scroll of fleeting dopamine hits—the hollow victory of validation. “Tell me I exist / Look what I’ve become / Prove that I’m still here / Prove that I’m enough,” Ainsworth demands over a staggered cadre of icy synths and, later, gorgeous strings, her modulated vocals approximating the digital anonymity she’s considering—a version of her is being exposed to the world, and she seems to fear that version will someday take on a life of its own.
“I find many facets of social media to be meaningful and I feel more connected than ever with kindred spirits who I’d probably not been able to connect with had the technology not been there,” Ainsworth told PAPER of the track. “But I am afraid of the way it is being harnessed by dictatorial powers. Our faces all stored in a tidy database. Technology has become a distraction to the truth.”
Lydia Ainsworth Tour Dates:
09 – London, U.K. @ Steelyard
13 – Paris, France @ Le Bababoum
14 – Paris, France @ Le Bababoum
17 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Vega
26 – Toronto, Ont. @ The Phoenix
01 – Boston, Mass. @ Brighton Music Hall
02 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Elsewhere
03 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Elsewhere
04 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Underground Arts
05 – Washington, D.C. @ U Street Music Hall
09 – Detroit, Mich. @ El Club
10 – Chicago, Ill. @ Lincoln Hall
11 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ Fine Line
14 – Portland, Ore. @ Wonder Ballroom
15 – Seattle, Wash. @ Neumos
17 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Great American Music Hall
18 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Fonda Theatre