So I’ve been a fan of girl in red for a good while now, I first listened to her when I was in school back in 2019. A friend of mine showed me the song “girls” and I instantly fell in love with it. I dug deeper into her discography and listened to basically every song she had made (which wasn’t that many). At the time she had two eps and a couple other songs and honestly I really liked all of them. Fast forward a little bit and I find a girl in red vinyl on discogs. It was a compilation of both of her eps put together. At first she did label it as a “debut album” but it was more of a compilation as each song had already been released prior, but I still bought it as I was a huge fan of all of the songs on there, and it’s been spun many times since. So when I heard that she was releasing a full length LP, an LP that wasn’t just a compilation of things she had already done and featured new songs… like a normal album would, I was really excited. I went to her website to pre-order it almost immediately and eagerly waited until the 30th of April, which is today.
Did it live up to my hype? Well… sort of.
Now prior to the album’s release there were of course a handful of singles released to give people a taste of what the album would hold, the first single which released back in 2020 was “Midnight Love” which I would still consider to be her best song, it’s well written for what it is and the production is gorgeous. It’s atmospheric and works really well on an emotional level. I was happy to see this song appear on the album. We then got the second single, “Rue” which at first I wasn’t a huge fan of, but it did slowly grow on me, listening to it on the album did make me like it more, but it’s still far from a perfect song. Then we got the lead single for the album, the single that was released with the album’s announcement “Serotonin”. This song really didn’t set a good example for the album. It’s messy, its lyrics are not great and just overall was not a fun experience, while there are points I liked, overall the song didn’t leave me too excited for what might come next, but, I still tried to keep my hopes up, it was only one song and the other two singles have been good. Then the final single released “You Stupid Bitch”. I surprisingly didn’t hate this song, it’s straightforward in its writing and composition. It’s nothing amazing or to write home about, but eh, it isn’t bad. Now I will of course comment on the lyricism of the song because, it is definitely… something.
“You stupid bitch, can't you see?
The perfect one for you is me”
It feels incredibly malicious and it’s something I can’t really get over, while the song is definitely fun to sing along to without thinking, yelling out the words “you stupid bitch!” but when actually thinking about the lyrics they don’t feel good. It didn’t set a great precedent for the album lyric-wise, and I was worried that this would feature incredibly poor lyricism.
Now I know girl in red isn’t known for her amazing lyricism but, her writing is fun and relatable. Her music in general is fun and relatable and that’s what makes people enjoy it so much, that’s what made me enjoy it so much, songs like “girls” and “i wanna be your girlfriend” while simple love songs are fun and easy to sing along to. They aren’t heavy songs or songs that require a lot of digestion, they are happy and fun songs. Now I’m not saying that Marie (girl in red) can’t write sad or emotional songs, she can, look at songs like “Midnight Love” and “bad idea”, these are more emotionally heavy songs, songs with anger and sadness in them, and they work well. “bad idea” works because it doesn’t sound outright malicious, while it is an angry song, it’s also relatable and understandable. The song explains what got her into this mess and makes the listener understand why she’s angry. “You Stupid Bitch” does not do that.
So let’s get into the other songs on this album, are they any good? Yes and no. The album opens with the aforementioned “Serotonin” and it works fine as an opener, it probably fits the best out of all the songs on the album, it fits with the theme of the album (which I’ll get into in a bit). We then get the first new song “Did You Come?” another more malicious song, but this time it works a little better as context is given… sort of. The song is about Marie’s ex-girlfriend who cheated on her, now that isn’t mentioned at all in the song, but the lyrics do a semi good job at explaining why she’s so angry. Now the lyrics themselves aren’t too great. They once again feel more like a vent of frustration than an actual song. There’s just so much spite in this album and I can’t get over it. There isn’t a single fun song on here and while that isn’t inherently a bad thing, it does dampen the mood a little, especially when a lot of the tracklist is just Marie getting angry at her exes.
“Body and Mind” is the first good song here. It’s a song about Marie herself and her experience with self-hatred, a similar song to the opener but a little less straightforward. This song is less angry and more sad, which I prefer. For the most part Marie is a lot better when she’s making sadder songs, instead of angry ones. It’s also well produced, I like the sound of the song and while it isn’t exactly unique, it works and it makes for a nice listening experience. It’s a personal song that feels personal, something that other songs on this album fail to do.
“Hornylovesickmess” is our next track and it’s a song I don’t have many feelings towards. The name left me a little worried but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It’s another more emotional track detailing how Marie feels lost without her partner while on tour. While for the most part it does a good job at sticking to that theme sex is still mentioned quite a bit and I can’t help but feel like it takes away from her initial point a bit. A song in which she just wants to be back with her partner, also mentioning that she only wants to call her up for sex doesn’t really leave a good impression. I can sort of understand why she’s like that, it’s in the title of the song, but that doesn’t really make it any better.
We then get the three aforementioned singles, songs I’ve already gone over in great detail, and this is where the album does start to pick up, by “Apartment 402” until the end, it’s a good stretch of songs, great even.
“Apartment 402” is once again another emotional track, a track about suicidal thoughts and depression but with a lighter edge to it. The song does have a happier tone to it and it’s refreshing to see. It’s a more laid back song production-wise and reminds me of “Midnight Love” in ways, which is always a good thing. Another thing I do really like about this song is in the writing, each chorus ends with the line “Will I” until the final chorus where the line is finished and ends with “Will I die”. It’s a nice touch and it fits with the song, an almost bittersweet ending.
This is definitely a major highlight off of the album and is a contender for one of her best songs, it’s well-written and well-produced, it feels intimate and emotional and shows Marie at her best in all departments.
“.” is a similar story, it’s another more emotional track and once again shines in all departments. It feels like the penultimate point of the album, everything has been leading up to this song, and while it isn’t an explosive ending or anything, it’s a release and it feels satisfying. It fits with the theme of the album too which the other songs have pointed at too. This is an album about Marie’s emotions and feelings, it’s an album about all her frustrations and problems, and in that department it works. Songs like “Serotonin” and “You Stupid Bitch” definitely work in telling that story, while they may not be amazing songs, I can commend them for sticking with the theme very well.
“I’ll Call You Mine” is a song that feels somewhat unnecessary. The album could’ve ended on “.” and it would’ve been great, or these two songs could’ve been swapped. While it isn’t a bad song, it’s a more fun song, the most fun on the album, while it isn’t inherently a happy song, it’s definitely not a sad one, but I can’t help but feel it breaks the flow of the album quite a bit and just feels awkward.
Finally, we get the closer “it would feel like this” which surprisingly is an instrumental track, which was something I wasn’t expecting. Marie herself described it as “It feels like the credits to a movie because the album is so full, you could get to like, ‘Holy cow, what did I just listen to?’ There’s no words. You don’t need any. I’ve just poured my heart out in all of these songs.” It’s something I can definitely commend and I can tell that she has put a lot of emotion and effort into these songs, they do feel very personal, maybe at points too personal. I can’t help but feel that this closer is a little pretentious? This isn’t really a heavy album, and while it may have been difficult for Marie to write and make, I can’t help but feel this album would’ve worked so much better with better writing, writing that actually hits hard instead of just either shocking you or showing her own anger. There are a lot of points on this album that, while I can tell that she is angry, it doesn’t make me feel angry. The emotion is not reciprocated and good writing shouldn’t do that.
Overall this wasn’t a bad listen, while I may not have enjoyed the first half as much as I’d have liked, I did enjoy the second half quite a bit and it did showcase Marie’s expertise. Songs like “Apartment 402” and “Midnight Love” are the kinds of songs I want to see Marie dabble more into, create something emotionally powerful, to stray away from songs like “You Stupid Bitch” and “Serotonin”, because even though it may be emotional to her, it just doesn’t translate to people listening.
Favourite Tracks: Body and Mind, Midnight Love, Apartment 402, .
Least Favourite Tracks: Serotonin, Did You Come?, You Stupid Bitch,