Your Next Earworm: Blondshell On Making Music About Revenge Fantasies & Shit Dudes

She made it onto Obama's top songs for 2023. She's just played at Jimmy Fallon. She's about to be the next big thing — and you probably haven't even heard of her yet.
Meet Sabrina Teitelbaum, better known as Blondshell. The Californian musician, who is embarking on her first Australian tour and billed to join Laneway Festival this February, is about to become your next musical hyperfixation.
For fans of Liz Phair, Sleater-Kinney and Waxahatchee, Blondshell doesn't just boast satisfying grungey riffs, but her music is also deeply relatable, especially for those who are in their 20s (and those in their 30s who are just teenage girls).
Her debut self-titled album, released in 2023, is proof that when young women write about the messiness of their lives, it's pretty damn good. "The album for me is just about one period of my life, and I think there ended up being a couple of themes that came up and resurfaced," Teitelbaum, who performs as Blondshell, tells Refinery29 Australia.
"I was writing about everything that was going on in life," she says. "I think, for me, it feels like a really accurate snapshot of my life. So when I'm 50, 60, or 70 years old, I can look back and be like, oh yeah, that's who I was at 23. It's really about a person in their young 20s who's just trying to figure it out."

On Kiss City

A standout from the album is the song 'Kiss City', which happens to have some of the most embarrassingly relatable lyrics you'll ever hear. At one point, she sings, "I think my kink is when you tell me that you think I'm pretty", and in another, she begs the guy she's pining after to "look me in the eyes when I'm about to finish".
If you're also haunted by the fact that one of your biggest turn-ons is being told that you're pretty, rest assured — you're meant to feel that way. "It's definitely embarrassing," she says of the song. "I was feeling really frustrated by dating at the time and it was like writing in a diary."
Originally writing the song in isolation during Covid, Teitelbaum admits that she originally thought no one would ever hear the song, which fuelled her to put all her private, most intimate thoughts onto paper. "I really convinced myself that I would not put it out and that I would not show anyone," she explains. "I didn't want to show my family that song... you want to be able to choose your boundaries, and if you're a musician and writing about this kind of stuff, you can't really choose."

On Salad

Salad is one of Blondshell's songs that's most frequently spoken about. It's a revenge fantasy discussing the idea of poisoning a guy's salad in retaliation for the abuse of her friend. With lyrics like, "It doesn't happen to women I know, God, tell me why did he hurt my girl?", Blondshell captures an experience that unfortunately, many women can relate to.
While she hopes that people will be able to interpret the song as they like, she admits that she wishes it wasn't something that so many people resonated with. "I wish that people did not relate to it," she says. "It's such an ugly thing to be a universal experience, conceptually... It's a can be pretty, can be ugly sort of snapshot of my life as an album. And this is an uglier truth."
For four minutes and 34 seconds, there's unmistakeable — and entirely warranted — rage. In recent years, we've seen a resurgence of 'feminine rage' — and women's anger is now being spotlighted on the screen and in music. For some, it can seem like this has only recently been popularised, but for Teitelbaum, she thinks that female anger has always been lurking in music — we're just more willing to listen to it now.
"I don't know if they are putting it into music now more than before, I think it may just be more of a willingness to hear it from other people," she says. "I don't know if women are writing in angrier ways as much as much as it is that all those avenues for getting music are more willing to showcase that kind of music."

On Sepsis

Speaking of her influences while writing the debut album, Tietelbaum says that she was listening to a lot of Perfume Genius, Palehound, Angel Olsen and Waxahatchee during writing, as well as being inspired by bands from the 90s which gives the album a grunge production influence.
This is most obviously seen in the song 'Sepsis', which packs heavy grungey riffs and a too-cool-for-school vibe as she discusses a shitty dude who wears a front-facing cap, sucks at sex, and who her therapist doesn't approve of.
"I didn't want to write a complex, beautiful melody," she explains. "I was just like, fuck you — and here's how I would tell you to go fuck yourself in person."
"Sepsis is my favourite... with that one, I was like, I'm angry about this one person and this is what this person's done that I'm angry about," she says.
If you're angry too (aren't we all), do yourself a favour and cue a bit of Blondshell up. You can thank me later.

What's Hot With Blondshell

What are you watching at the moment?: "MasterChef US. Gordon Ramsay. Hot man."
What's one in and one out for 2024?: "In is conflict resolution. And out is getting colds. I'm sick of getting colds."
Who's an artist we need to look out for?: "Squirrel Flower."
Blondshell is touring Australia in February 2024. You can check out tour dates here.
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