girl in red Gently Screams into the Void on 'if i could make it go quiet'

BY Rachel KellyPublished Apr 27, 2021

After a rocket-launch start with multiple viral songs and over a million TikTok followers, girl in red's if i could make it go quiet is a surprising yet authentically jaded debut album. The Norwegian singer forgoes the tenderness and acoustic arrangements that made her an indie pop darling in favour of riot grrrl-influenced punk stylings. It may be early in girl in red's career for a rebellious phase, but she justifies it by balancing catchy poeticism with danceable rage and brutal honesty.

Sparse, rhythmic arrangements blend with her distorted, sing-song vocals to create a sound just familiar enough to keep old fans happy while embracing a new sense of maturity and earned anger. In the album, she openly processes mental illness in tandem with fame, heartbreak, desire and growth, all the while bristling with painful self-awareness and Gen Z nihilism. She oscillates between indignant rage and self-loathing, mining emotional depths to produce a gentle scream into the void.

As always, girl in red's greatest accomplishment is her lyrics; she is an expert at packing a punch in as few words as possible. This gives the album an air of authenticity where other young artists often fall into cliché. The best example of this is "Did You Come?," a furious and sardonic track about sexual betrayal where she sings, "Did you come? How many times? / Tell the truth, wait never mind." Bald, explicit sexuality is a signature of her writing, repeated in "hornylovesickmess" where she laments using a former love for sex, and "You Stupid Bitch," where lust reaches a furious fever pitch. She takes this bluntness into every song. The album's crowning achievement, "Serotonin," is an irresistibly catchy, angsty track about the realities of mental illness. Produced by hit-maker FINNEAS, the song pleads for relief in a raw, painful way: "Like how do I make this stop / When it feels like my therapist hates me / Please don't let me go crazy." 

Occasionally, the album does dip into sickly sweetness. "I'll Call You Mine" and "Apartment 402" feel a little hollow in their positivity when surrounded by masterfully described pain. Despite this, if i could make it go quiet is a testament to girl in red's rapid growth as an artist. In addition to a sophisticated examination of anger and suffering, her voice has grown richer and deeper while her sound has evolved to blend punk nostalgia into her youthful ennui. It is a special accomplishment that she can hold so much duality in her music: retro yet current, blunt yet poetic, angry yet tender.

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