"Fame Kills," warns Gia Woods on the closing track of her newest release, Heartbreak County — an impeccable dance-pop project that dives deep into Los Angeles culture (or as deep as the superficial city will allow) from the perspective of someone who grew up living there. Plenty come with the promise of celebrity, but the magic only works on a select few, while most are left to survive. Because "the price is too high for all the cheap thrills," as Woods sings, shouting out late Hollywood icons before her, from Marilyn Monroe to James Dean and Kurt Cobain.
Inside Heartbreak County, Woods also explores addiction — specifically the "intoxicating infatuation" of a codependent love affair on her dark, shimmering lead single, "Enough Of You." The Persian pop princess continues her journey through the City Angels on "Oh My God," a religious-inspired song about toxic relationships, and with "Next Girlfriend," a guitar-led scorcher that sees her claiming (er, stealing) someone else's partner. "Hey, you should be my next girlfriend," she cat calls, delivering this year's hottest lesbian anthem.
Below, Woods invites PAPER inside Heartbreak County with a track-by-track breakdown of Volume 1 (which means there's even more music on the way). "As much as I sometimes think I want to leave, I also can't get enough of it," Woods admits of the "fucked up paradise" she calls home.
"Enough Of You"
This was the first song written for Heartbreak County Vol.1, the one that started it all. I wrote this over Zoom in the middle of the pandemic, which was super weird but also kind of comforting during that time. This song inspired the rest of the themes I wanted to explore in this project, one of them being addiction. "Enough of You" is about intoxicating infatuation. At first it sounds like it's just about being addicted to another person, but it's so much more than that. It's about chasing the highs 'til you don't even feel them anymore. The EP as a whole is inspired by LA, a city filled with all kinds of addiction. There's a lot of codependency, because if you're on your own, LA is a lonely place. As much as I sometimes think I want to leave, I also can't get enough of it.
"Oh My God"
"Oh My God" is about the overwhelming feeling of a toxic relationship, told through a lens with religious imagery. It's when you're so committed and hopelessly in love with someone that no matter what they do, you can't seem to them let go. They're like your religion. They're your world. When you're in something that deep and it feels as if it's all you have, all you're worth. This song explores that chaotic feeling and the duality of letting go.
"Everyone thinks they know LA and everyone thinks they want to come here, but do they really know LA?"
"Next Girlfriend" is super cheeky and fun. I feel like we've all wanted to steal someone else's girlfriend at one point or another. Sometimes you can't control meeting someone at the wrong time. I live for those moments. Wanting and desiring someone in a city like LA can be challenging for a gay girl. I feel like it's hard to recognize or tell if someone is interested, especially for someone like me because I'm very femme. A lot of girls can't tell that I'm gay.
"Fame Kills " perfectly sums up HeartBreak County Vol.1. Growing up in LA, I've been around a lot of fame. I've seen people make it to the top, but I've also seen the heartbreak of it all. LA can look like it's all glitz and glam, but it can be dark sometimes too. I've seen the dark effect that fame can have on people. Heartbreak County is all about how LA is filled with that heartbreak. Everyone thinks they know LA and everyone thinks they want to come here, but do they really know LA?
Photo courtesy of Gia Woods