I first heard Girl in Red a few years ago when Spotify algorithms recommended i wanna be your girlfriend to me. I fell in love with her voice, the style of the song, the lyrics, and, most importantly, her brazen way of speaking about her sexuality so openly, making it part of her brand. Since then, tracks like we fell in love in october and midnight love have been staples of my playlists. Her Spotify Studio Oyster Recording cover of Maggie Rogers’ Say It is my ultimate mood booster to blast while I’m getting ready to take on my day.
Earlier this year she released Serotonin, the first taste of her debut record ‘if i could make it go quiet’, and a completely new side to the artist – going from indie to angsty. This is an album which I have waited so long for as the many singles she was dropping left so much more to be desired. The album showcases a brutally honest collection of songs riddled with things we want to say to others, but never have the guts to. An exploration of pain, love and the human condition, ‘if i could make it go quiet’ embodies the unbridled honestly we all long to give to our deepest, darkest and most secret thoughts and confessions.
The aforementioned Serotonin opens the record, a peek into Girl in Red’s psyche. Speaking candidly on her mental health, the track is highly processed and distorted. Produced by Matias Tellez and half of the Billie Eillish duo FINNEAS, the track is as relatable as it is confronting. In the first verse she confronts these realities head on with the lines:
Intrusive thoughts like cutting my hands off
Like jumping in front of a bus
Like how do I make this stop
When it feels like my therapist hates me“
But her candidness and head-first dive into speaking so intimately about herself is what truly makes her music great. Did You Come follows, with the opening melody mirroring the melody of it’s prior track closely. Her vocals are further back in the mix and the instrumental more live than the more electronic approach Serotonin. Yet the song still finds its’ on space on the record.
Body and Mind starts explosively with high synthesized keys and electric guitars, demanding the listeners attention. “I’ve been at the lowest for the longest time, knowing my existence is not one of a kind” she sings in the first verse, exploring an existential take on the human condition. hornylovesickmess is one of the most open honest song she has on the records about the parts of herself that we usually keep covered.
“It’s been months since I’ve had sex… and I don’t want to be the kind of person who calls you up every time I need to get off. But, I guess that’s who I’m turning in to”
The song is quirky and bouncy, in a minor key that gives it a kind of sound of nostalgic, representing the partner she is thinking of. “I’ve been treating you like trash, and you deserve more than that” she sings as the instrumentation quietens, isolating these lines to give them the full impact. midnight love follows, a beautiful track about wanting more from an unavailable partner. The instrumentation is soft and minimal, yet atmospheric. Her voice carries a certain hint of longing, coming through in the lyrics and passing on exactly how she feels about the object of the lyrics.
You Stupid Bitch follows, and I have no idea how to describe the sound of the track other than that it carries the same sonic aesthetic as a coming-of-age teen movie from the 90’s. Like a more frustrated version of Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me, the song details how much she wants to be with someone who she watches end up in a series of harmful or self-destructive relationships and behaviours. “You don’t know what you deserve, that’s why you get hurt.” she sings in the second verse, mixing love and concern for this person with frustration with them. “You stupid bitch, can’t you see, the perfect one for you is me”.
“Believe me when I say, I could never be saved” she sings in Rue, a much sadder song about someone who loved her while she was struggling with her mental health. “Don’t want to make it worse, I want to make it work”. A desperately sad song with a hopeful tinge.
“I remember you stayed up all night to make sure I was alright. Believe me when I say, I would have done the same. I hate the way my brain is wired. Can’t trust the way my brain is wired”.
She sings candidly about the pain of suffering from mental health, and the sacrifices those around you make, but how you can channel that into wanting to better yourself and keep moving through it, rather than letting it beat you.
Apartment 402 has a similar sound and feel to midnight love in the atmosphere it creates. She sings in run on sentences and rhymes, as a heavily reverbed vocal double screams the words behind her, emanating the thoughts in her mind and the intensity of her emotions. A beautifully constructed slow burner, the song, grows and builds in the most beautiful way. Overall, one of the most emotive songs on the album. “If I lose my grip and fall, will I die?” she sings before the song comes to an abrupt close, lingering these lyrics in the listeners mind.
“When I see you with her, it only gets worse.
I know how it hurts. I can’t say ’cause I’m all out of words.
Lost on this Earth, just floating around.
Someone help me down…
It’s been so hard, ever since you broke my heart.
But I’ll never tell. Honey, I’m not doing so well.”
She opens in heartbreak anthem ., another soul-crushingly relatable tale of pain, love and loss. “Honey, I’m not doing so well” she repeats at the end of the song.
I’ll Call You Mine picks up the pace since the previous few songs. More of a falling in love rather than a falling out of love song. The song captures these feelings beautifully. “Rainy days and bad luck, come in my way. I look for you when I’m lost, so I don’t go insane” she sings, revisiting past lyrical themes. “Hold me like you’ll never leave”. it would feel like this closes the record on a more sombre note. Gentle, melodic piano opens the purely instrumental track, before strings are introduced, giving a totally different sound and feel to the rest of the record, yet somehow cohesively aligning with the emotion of the album.
‘if i could make it go quiet’ is an emotional masterpiece. It is impossible to listen to this record and not feel something. Or to not be totally enraptured by Girl in Red’s feelings, emotions and stories. To not be able find a way to weave your own experiences in with hers. The songs posses the brutal honesty and personalisation that so many find hard to tap in to, yet is so important to share to breach the barriers between artist and listener.
‘if i could make it go quiet’ will be available on all streaming platforms from April 30th.
Pre order here
Follow Girl in Red
With thanks to Positive Feedback + AWAL