In pop culture, a manic pixie dream girl is usually a dreamy, troubled girl whose sole purpose is to inspire a male character. Lady Charles takes this archetype and makes it a more gender-fluid and empowering one through their new single, “Manic Pixie Dream Boy.” Check it out on YouTube here.
The song begins with an 80’s inspired guitar groove that brings to mind bands like Blondie in their “Autoamerican” era. Then, Lady Charles’ sonorous vocals kick in as they casually sing about who they are and why other people shouldn’t bring them down.
“To all those sideways glances
Quit harshing me!
’cause I’m a manic pixie dream boy
Trying to live authentically”
In fact, their vocals are strongly reminiscent of David Bowie, especially once the third verse comes in and they showcase their falsetto range. Yet, the second verse is also very Bowie-esque due to their witty wordplay as they jokingly refer to their depression and gender expression.
Listen on Spotify here
According to the artist themselves, the song was inspired by not only Bowie, but also the rock and roll ethos itself. “I always felt that rock music lends itself to androgyny because at its core I think rock music is a genre that cuts across identities and unites people. It doesn’t matter one’s sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, class, or age – if you feel it then you are rock and roll.”
Through the accompanying music video, Lady Charles proudly showcases their gender-fluidity and talent as they appear in various shots. One notable scene involves them performing as an entire rock band, taking on the role of vocalist, guitarist, and drummer all at once. Thus, “Manic Pixie Dream Boy” is about being confident and living for yourself, regardless of what others think.
Lady Charles explains the song further as they state, “When I began working on ‘Manic Pixie Dream Boy’ something clicked. I found myself drawing from Hip Hop punchlines and weirdo indie rock, dropping the hyper-serious statement writing I once felt I had to do to get respect in music. From that point onward, the process of writing lyrics on the record became a joy – I was able to finally translate my sense of humor into the lyrics and I think it’s evident in songs like “Manic Pixie Dream Boy.’”
Lady Charles is a shape-shifting art rock enchanter/ress from Ottawa. They released their self-titled debut EP in 2022, blending elements of folk, indie.