Posted on July 24th, 2019

[as seen on Stereogum]

The fearsome New York band Bethlehem Steel are releasing a new self-titled album this fall. It’s the follow-up to 2017’s excellent debut, Party Naked Forever, and a new member has been added to the band this time around in the form of Christina Puerto, who wrote and sings on a handful of songs on the album. At the project’s center is still Becca Rsykalczyk, though, whose smoky voice grounds Bethlehem Steel’s lead single “Bad Girl”: “Woke up early to hate myself/ Am I a bad girl?” she wonders on it, her swirl of anxieties giving way to a terse, knotted breakdown.

“‘Bad Girl’ is about all the nights that my brain keeps me awake. Irrationally telling me I’m a terrible person. Going over and over and over all of the things I might have done to upset or inconvenience another human,” Ryskalczyk said in a statement. “Singing the line ‘am I a bad girl?’ to my bandmates or even just out loud to myself was definitely embarrassing. I wasn’t sure if I should even keep it as a lyric until I decided to just lean into it. I send my mom everything I’m working on and when I sent her the demos with place holder titles she was like ‘Bad Girl? Now THATS how you name a song!’ so naturally it had to stay.”

The song’s music video, which was directed by Ryskalczyk, takes place at a raucous New York City backyard party. Watch and listen below.

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