Lisa Prank 96 © Kelly O Web

Lisa Prank is a true-blue romantic. In fact, “I’m very preoccupied with romance,” songwriter Robin Edwards admits, “and I’m always trying to figure out what the deal with love is.” On her new record, Perfect Love Song, Edwards acknowledges the ultimate joke of love: that there is no perfect, so you’ll get tripped up while chasing it—but what else could possibly be more rich, more exhilarating, more everything, skinned knees be damned? Stitching together pop punk panache and pillow talk introspection, Perfect Love Song finds Lisa Prank not in pursuit of the flawless impossible, as the title may suggest. Rather, she’s interested in the entire experience of love and learning through it. “I never learned how to be mad,” Edwards sings on the reflective “Get Mad”—but she did learn how to write totally gratifying pop songs about it, with the end of “processing my feelings, and hoping that other people can relate if they’ve been in a similar situation.” Perfect Love Song is an album that takes a soft-focus gaze at romance’s sharpest points and edges, both the exciting peaks and the scary cliffs.

As Edwards was navigating a drawn out, Lifetime-movie level heartbreak, she found herself drifting back towards the home she had in her friendships. She moved back into her old room in storied Seattle punk manse, Spruce House, sharing a door with Tacocat’s Bree McKenna. She’d knock and ask McKenna for feedback on songs, who wound up playing guitar on the record. To produce, Edwards tapped old friend Rose Melberg of Tiger Trap. Melberg’s artistic alignment and personal closeness to Edwards gave her near psychic insight into Lisa Prank’s sonic goals, but at enough remove to provide breakthroughs to Edwards at stuck points. It was a collaboration that felt like coaching. She helped Edwards step back and look at harmonies, percussion, guitar tones she may have not considered at first, but that helped her achieve her ideal polished-punk sound. Plus, it was fun in the studio, with friends around, creating the kind of lighthearted, mutually supportive feeling one needs surrounding them feel like themselves again after retrieving their heart back from a breakup.

“I love love songs, or falling out of love songs,” explains Edwards, “where I can see one moment of the situation and know what the whole story is.” Writing Perfect Love Song was Edwards’ opportunity “to personally say all the things that I wanted to say, or wish I had said.” In “Scream the Truth,” a gaslighting extinguisher anthem about reclaiming your sanity, she gets to be mad on her terms: “I wasn’t losing my mind,” she sings. Says Edwards, “its about seeing someone else navigate the world as a very nice guy whose very woke and feminist or whatever, and knowing the truth about him.” The first track, “Rodeo,” likens the searing, sinking-in feeling of a post fight realization—“‘cause ‘I don’t wanna be in love’/means I don’t wanna be in love/with you”—to the dangers and desires of the spectacle of love. “By now I know/this is the rodeo I chose,” she sings, electing to get back on her horse and ride, acknowledging the pain that’s part of that game.

“I wish a different emotion was so alive and exciting to me,” Edwards laughs, “but love is just the one that feels so visceral and consuming!” Perfect Love Song explodes the roller coaster snapshots of romance in bursts of poppy neon bright color, with Edward’s cheeky perspective polished to full shine. “Lisa Prank has humor to it,” she says. “Some of the songs are really sad to me, but it’s still fun pop punk.” And the mission of that genre, one could argue, is to keep on bopping along through the bullshit of life. To stay buoyant, to find fun in the big what-ifs and whatevers. It what keeps the dream Lisa Prank afloat: as she sings on “Constellation,” “still I keep on hoping this is some perfect love song/and we’ll go on and on and on, and on and on, and on.”