Madeline Kenney is gearing up to put out her third album, Sucker’s Lunch, this summer—or maybe it’s all just one long con. The title track comes about a year-and-a-half after Perfect Shapes, the Oakland musician’s pastel sophomore record, which was carried by expansive, verdant melodies. Her new sounds haven’t strayed much in hue, though her attitude has lifted. Madeline Kenney allows herself to be loved on “Sucker,” even if that means that she is one, too.
“I’m not interested in something easy or immediately apparent. My experience writing these songs wasn’t easy, it was painful and difficult. I was terrified of falling in love, and as much as I’d like to write a sticky sweet song for someone, it doesn’t come naturally to me. Instead I wanted to explore the tiny moments; sitting alone in my room guessing what the other person was thinking, spiraling into a maze of logical reasons to bail and finding my way out again. When I spoke with friends about the theme of the ‘idiot’, it became apparent that everyone understood that feeling and was relieved to hear it echoed in someone else.” – Madeline Kenney
Cool licks from a guitar keep “Sucker” afloat, as Madeline Kenney and Kurt Wagner’s vocals are drowned by gallons of coffee. The narrator on the track is an emotional figure who can’t reconcile their view of the world with their love for it—are we all just suckers waiting to find our perfect swindler?
Kenney becomes the character for the music video, breaking the fourth wall to rope us into her cons. Eventually, we become her absolver as well, after she confesses self-loathing with cracked vocals directly to the camera. Who is the sucker at the end of the day? Certainly not the one who chooses to love without judgment.