Lala Lala Tells Us About the Songs That Scare Her

Her album I Want the Door to Open is out now via Hardly Art.

On I Want the Door to Open, Lillie West’s third album under the moniker Lala Lala, she sounds fearless. Her voice is emboldened, she’s curious and ready to live. “I want to hold the fire part of fuel,” she sings during “Color of the Pool.” The pain, the sickness, and the power are all things she embraces on this visceral album, which finds her trading stabbing guitar lines for cascading chimes and whooshing production. As she stated with the album’s powerful first single “DIVER,” she wants to make peace with a Sisyphean way of being. Survival is constant labor that we’re sometimes totally oblivious to, and West has made an album that reminds the listener of this constant work. Life is a combination of hills and valleys, and neither would be one without the other—learning to love is hard work and an even harder choice. West has made a potent argument for the beauty of such a choice.

But just because she sounds fearless and bright on record doesn’t mean that fear isn’t there. Again, it’s another complicated emotion she’s chosen to embrace, reframing the thought of the adrenaline-inducing gut-punch emotion into something to embrace. In celebration of her album that was released last Friday, West has shared a set of songs that scare her.

“Fear is so interesting, because it’s also fantasy? I spend a lot of time deeply afraid, but I try not to let it affect my decisions too much because I think then I will miss out on my life,” she says. “I tend to choose extreme joy or thrill even if I know it means extreme pain later. It’s all worth it to me. These are songs that scare me for different reasons. It’s fun to look fear dead in the eyes!”

Check out her choices below and what she had to say about them.

Perfume Genius, “Wreath”

This song has an intensity that really frightens me. It’s begging for freedom. And I think freedom can be terrifying.

PIERI, “Quien Paga”

This song fucks. In a scary way. It makes me feel like I’m driving dangerously.

Björk, “All Is Full of Love”

“You’ll be given love / You have to trust it / Maybe not from the sources you have poured yours / Maybe not from the directions you are staring at.” Very painful truth to face

Kendrick Lamar, “YAH.”

This song is just very sexy and that’s kind of scary.

The Rolling Stones, “Wild Horses”

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away! Loving someone that much is very scary! So much to lose.

Ohtis, “Pervert Blood”

I’m afraid of this song because I also worry that I am irrevocably broken.

Dan Deacon, “Fell Into the Ocean”

This song is very positive. Blistering and beautiful positivity. Scary!

ANOHNI, “4 Degrees”

A song about the world being too hot to inhabit if global temperatures increase four degrees—obviously very real and horrifying. Presented from the perspective of someone who wants it. I think that everything that ANOHNI does is brilliant.

Claudio Simonetta, Massimo Morante, Fabio Pignatelli, “Tenebre – Originale”

Title song for the horror movie Tenebre, sort of speaks for itself. I can’t hear it without thinking of the terrifying long tracking shot it accompanies in the movie

Sega Bodega, “Salv Goes to Hollywood”

This song is very scary to me on its face, right away. I really like it, though—it’s fun and important to enter that space sometimes. Also a sexy song. Definitely a night-time-in-the-city song.

FKA twigs, “cellophone”

The pain in this song is very raw, very relatable, very scary. I’ve written about this song before at length. One of my favorite songs of the past couple years.

Body Meat feat. Laraaji, “Ghost”

This song is extremely magical and otherworldly to me, other world, next world. It’s so, so deeply special and beautiful. Scary


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