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Published: September 22, 2023

Paulina Walks Us Through Each Song On ‘the show goes on’

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Paulina‘s new EP, the show goes on, is finally here, and it’s a must-listen. In her words, the musician explains, “S**t happens. Life keeps moving. The show goes on.” For the Long Island native, this isn’t just another electro-pop collection, but rather a life lesson packed into five tracks. The songs talk about real stuff: love, heartbreak, and the ups and downs we all face.

According to Paulina, “I practically grew up on stage, performing in shows my whole life. So, this title seemed fitting. It’s a metaphor for my life. My life is the show. In this EP, I take listeners through the emotional journey.” Through records like “hell and back” and “temporary fixes,” she’s letting us in on her world, and it’s full of raw feelings. You’ll want to dance, but you’ll also stop and think.

Each tune is like a diary entry backed by production from Paulina’s longtime friend and frequent collaborator Sam Merkin. Whether you’re new to the artist or a fan, it’s giving us a soundtrack for moving forward, no matter what life throws our way. Below, the singer-songwriter broke down each song for us.

“hell and back”

“hell and back” is the opener. It sets up the whole EP. I introduce the themes of love, pain, and desire that are present throughout the whole project and tell listeners to “watch the show” — the show being my EP, the show goes on. I guess you can say there’s some creative easter eggs spread throughout the track. Every little thing was intentional.

To play off the track title, I included words like “sin” and “fire,” that add to the “hell” imagery. There are also background sounds that imitate sirens, or what we would imagine hell to sound like. The first line of the song is a reference to the two breakups I experienced in that same year: “I’ve been through hell and back twice in a year, but I’m here.” It celebrates my growth, overcoming the heartache, and re-finding myself. It wasn’t easy at first, but essentially, it’s learning to love myself the most and letting everybody else watch.

“three’s a crowd”

This was a fun one to write. And before you ask, no, it is not a true story. Although, I kinda wish it was because this would be a pretty bad-ass way of exposing the cheater in the situation. I can say, however, it was loosely based on a situation I was told about.

“three’s a crowd” tells the story of a man in multiple relationships with three various women. None of them knew, well, until now. It’s told (or sung) from the perspective of one of the girls — the girl from his school — and goes on to explain about the other girls. One which he met on a trip to Paris and the other from his hometown. It pokes a bit at him with fun, sarcastic humor. Unfortunately, situations like this can arise, and if you do find it resonating with you, I urge you to scream along with it.

“temporary fixes”

This song was super healing for me. I was going through a hard time and felt like I had to cover that up to be happy and smiling around my friends all the time. A lot of that can be fake. I’d put on my best dress, drink, party, dance, and have a good time. And what I realized were all those things were just temporary. It was a Band-Aid over the cut. The heartache was still there in the morning. You go through all of that, just to be left with “temporary fixes.”

But what I also realized was that these were the necessary steps to achieve ultimate happiness. You cope until you no longer feel the pain. So, I wanted a dance track to contrast with the emotional lyrics, allowing myself and listeners to dance the hurt away. If we keep doing that enough, eventually, we heal.

“carousel habits”

We all have those people in our lives that linger around. They disappear suddenly and come back when it’s convenient for them, like a habit. A carousel goes around and around, repeating its same cycle. Also like a habit. Hence, “carousel habits” was born. In this song, I ask, “Am I just a habit to you?” and reveal that I enjoy being around that person but want to stay strong in an effort to break the cycle.

This song brings a sense of empowerment and confidence, voicing how I really feel. It’s me taking my control back. I wanted to emulate that power with a wide-ranged bridge that screamed the words, “don’t look at me like that.” I also included a lot of carousel metaphors/ references throughout the song, which was super fun, creatively. 

“best friend”

“best friend” will forever be special to me. It was the first song I wrote on the EP that made me discover my sound and the kind of music I wanted to create. It was also the first song I put out as a single back in April. It really put my artistry into bloom. It was a bit more promiscuous than anything I had written in the past, but I felt that reflected me maturing into my 20’s as a person and songwriter.

In short, the song is about waking up in bed with your best friend of the opposite gender and not knowing how to feel about it. You’re unsure of your own emotions, unsure of theirs, kinda liked it, kinda want to run away and never speak of it again. It’s navigating the aftermath. Everyone that listens to it asks me who it’s about. I think I’ll just leave that one up in the air and let the people wonder. This song can really be interpreted a ton of different ways, so people can relate to it in whatever form they please.