Despite its youthful and vibrant beat, “Pill Party” by Sage Charmaine is her most vulnerable song to date. In true Gen Z style, she hides her dark lyrics behind a charade of bubbly and playful sounds— perfect for those at the party who just want to go home.
“Pill Party” is an indie pop song with an alternative edge, somewhere between TikTok favorites Beach Bunny and Penelope Scott in that it’s comprised of catchy hook after catchy hook, but lyrically devastating with a hint of self-aware and self-deprecating humor. Such lyrics discuss loneliness, drug use, and depression; sung over a perky beat with a sugar-sweet melody. Its instrumental arrangement is rather minimalist, but everything works together to create a playful and lighthearted mood to distract from the lyrics. If you didn’t listen to what Charmaine was singing, this would probably make its way to your pre-game playlist.
But “Pill Party” is not just a song— it’s meant to be experienced with its visual component. The music video, which draws inspiration from HBO’s cult favorite Euphoria, uses glowing, colorful, and lively imagery. But make no mistake, this is a party of one. Charmaine is alone the entire video, despite being dressed to the nines in rooms decorated wall-to-wall in signature party fare. This begs the question, who is she singing to? There are about a million ways to interpret this video, but we don’t have time for a dissertation. It’s best to check it out for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
“Pill Party speaks to the isolation one might feel in order to start using [drugs], all the way up to the insulation you might find yourself in afterwards. I wanted the video to be a reflection of that detachment,” Charmaine writes.
Sage Charmaine, as surprising as it may seem, was first introduced to singing in her grandparents’ church in Texas. After singing the National Anthem at rodeos in sparkly cowboy boots, her family relocated to California so she could pursue a career in music. There, she began schooling online, where she was introduced to Internet culture as we know it, and that began to influence her songwriting. She was using the inspiration of My Chemical Romance and Grimes for the same songs, bending genres in the emo subculture to make room for more electronic and pop sounds. At the end of the day, Charmaine’s goal is to make people feel happy, loved, and seen with her music; even when the songs stem from a negative mental state.
Written by Jess Ward