chelsea wolfe
Ebru Yildiz

10 songs that influenced Chelsea Wolfe’s She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She

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Ever since her inception, Chelsea Wolfe has relied on darkness to make songs that are completely spellbinding. Now, she’s embracing change, too. On her latest album, She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She, Wolfe faces the void and rediscovers her independence after leaving a draining relationship. “It’s a record about the past self reaching out to the present self reaching out to the future self to summon change, growth, and guidance,” she says. “It’s a story of freeing yourself from situations and patterns that are holding you back in order to become self-empowered. It’s an invitation to step into your authenticity.”

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Naturally, that led us to wonder how that would be reflected musically, and the result is brilliant. The album’s influences are diverse and earnest, from trip-hop giants Massive Attack — whose touch can be felt on songs like “Everything Turns Blue” and “Tunnel Lights” — to King of Limbs-era Radiohead. 

To ring in the release, Wolfe laid out the varying influences that helped frame her great new record.

Depeche Mode – “Waiting For the Night”

Violator was a big touchstone for me on this record. I've loved Depeche Mode since I was a kid, and a guy across the street from my house would DJ their music for the neighborhood as we played in the streets. 

The Smashing Pumpkins – “Daphne Descends”

This is the first song I learned to play on bass as a youngling, and Adore is my favorite Smashing Pumpkins album — it’s got a tenderness and rawness to it that I can also feel on my new album. 

Björk – “Bachelorette”

What strikes me about this song is the not holding back her passion. There’s a forward motion to this song that you can almost see as you’re listening to it. 

Madonna – “Frozen”

I loved Ray of Light, and this goth trip-hop moment for Madonna was my favorite of hers. 

Nine Inch Nails – “The Hand That Feeds”

I love the sort of dance breakdown this song has as a bridge and had intentions to try something like that for this record. If I dance, it’s gonna be to like NIN, Portishead, or metal. 

Massive Attack – “Teardrop”

I didn’t realize this as I was writing it, but I feel like “Salt” is a sort of call-and-response reflection to “Teardrop.” “Salt” had a completely different melody and chorus lyrics until we started working in the studio, and one day I just felt inspired to rework it. I was in a mood at home, had been crying, and just channeled that into a new chorus. 

Low – “Rome (Always in the Dark)”

I was so impressed by this album and how they were so open to trying a completely new form of production for their music, with BJ Burton. That idea alone inspired me to want to work with a producer for my album to help me transform these songs into something fresh. 

Radiohead – “Where I End and You Begin”

I would have been 20 when this came out, and I remember being so excited about this album [Hail to the Thief] and its energy. The songs feel very much like a reaction to what was happening in the world, and reflecting that in a personalized way for the band. 

TV on the Radio – “Staring at the Sun”

Obviously, working with producer Dave Sitek would bring some influence from the band he co-founded. Sitek had an idea to use a similar bass technique used on this song of sampling Ben’s bass into an MPC and then having him play it by hand, on our song “Tunnel Lights.” 

Lhasa De Sela – “Anywhere on This Road”

This song felt like a reminder to keep a looseness and playfulness in the studio, and also to embrace the natural inclinations of my own voice as it shifts and grows along with me.