Dorian Electra is tomorrow's biggest pop star, creating music that juxtaposes slick, radio-friendly production with subliminal social commentary. Their newest single, "Career Boy," follows a long string of purposeful pop tunes, from "Drag" to "Control," but this song is perhaps their most commercial to date, with a capitalist narrative and self-aware EDM instrumental that leans into the hyper-masculine tropes associated with big business. On the surface, it's a head-banging synth-heavy bop, but at its core, "Career Boy" sheds light on a society that values corporate greed over everything.
"'Career Boy' is about the addiction to work that our modern society forces us to have in order to succeed," Electra says. "It's about someone who learns to love the pain of the endless grind and who gets off to working overtime for 'the man,' despite the long hours and loneliness. I wanted to subvert and poke fun at this masculine ideal of the manly-businessman-hero and tear him apart and also make him very queer. I identify as gender fluid and it feels really liberating to be able to put out a pop song referring to myself as 'boy.'"
For the music video, Electra recruited director/photographer Charlotte Rutherford to create a treatment that had all the markings of a "sexy pop music video" with their wind-blown hair, sweaty skin, overt sex appeal and a choreographed dance finale. Still, there's something "weird and scary" about the visual, which Electra says was strategic in order to further the complex "Career Boy" commentary. At one point, Electra is chained to a desk as shredded files burn around them, creating an eerie undertone that uses BDSM imagery to highlight the underbelly of obsession.
Will Vaughan produced the track, and collaborated with Electra to create a sound that purposefully captures classic EDM clichés. "I thought it would be really funny for the chorus to have these super intense hits and silences in a purposefully bro-y EDM-y way that we thought would reflect the over-the-top intensity of this guy alone at the office at midnight chugging coffee," Electra says. "Whenever I write songs, I always end up starting with the music video concept in mind first. It's like I have to visualize what the song will look like, what I'll be wearing, how I'll be moving when performing it, in order to know how I want to use my voice and what the production should sound like."
Watch the PAPER premiere of Dorian Electra's "Career Boy" video, above, and check out behind-the-scenes photos by Lance Williams, below.