“Kiss City” is a lame title for a song. It sounds like something Leisure Suit Larry would call first base. But then again, it’s kind of supposed to be lame. The crux of the new song by Blondshell (aka Sabrina Teitelbaum) is that the narrator is needily asking for things that should really be the bare minimum for intimacy. “I think my kink is when you tell me that I’m pretty,” she sings, over a gently loping indie pop groove. She’s aware on some level that it’s kind of an embarrassing thing to admit – “did you expect something different?”, she asks, and even she doesn’t sound sure if it’s a rhetorical question or not – but she can’t keep the insecurity at bay. In short, she’s exactly the sort of person who would say something like “kiss city” in the heat of the moment, before being mortified a split second later.

At least, the song’s narrator is. Teitelbaum herself seems to have a lot more confidence than that, and according to her, writing “Kiss City” helped. “Writing alone in my apartment, I was able to voice my most vulnerable desires, which turned into demands over the course of the song,” she said in a statement to Stereogum. “I think the song itself made me more confident and able to ask for what I deserve.” As a writer myself, I can sympathize. Sometimes it’s not until you’ve written your thoughts out that you understand what it is you’re thinking, and sometimes that can be a frightening thing: Jesus, is that really how I feel?

It’s hard to blame her for wanting a bit of catharsis. In the last third of the song, the gentle pop balladry gives way to a gloriously noisy rock climax, while Teitelbaum hollers the lyrics from the first verse at the top of her lungs. Her meek request that her lover look her in the eyes has become a furious, defiant command. Lines that were wryly humorous in the first verse, like “I bet she talks dirty like she’s on a mission” or “momma, I’m adjacent to a lot of love,” are now packed full of mixed emotions: she’s disgusted that she’s asked so little from her lover in the past, and newly committed to getting what’s rightfully hers.