In what seems to be one of the most highly anticipated debuts of the year, girl in red’s if i could make it go quiet grapples meticulously with tales of quiet introspection and early twenties angst. Returning to the familiar low-fi guitar riffs and catchy hooks that have characterized the young Norwegian’s music since she started producing it in her bedroom in 2016, the record makes for a thoughtful dissection by Amber Frost.
Norwegian singer, Marie Ulven has undoubtedly become a figurehead for the younger LGBTQ+ community. ‘Do you listen to Girl in Red?’ has quickly become a phrase used amongst queer women to distinguish whether another person identifies similarly. Ulven irrefutably uses her platform as a popular musician to confront issues surrounding relationships and mental health, particularly as a queer woman herself. Artists such as these are so important to the future of the music industry: they enable a safe space for fanbases and empower others, to be honest, and true to themselves. Whilst she is an icon for the LGBTQ+ industry, she is first and foremost a musician and an incredibly talented one at that.
Behind all of this, Ulven’s raw, diaristic approach to song-writing has honed her as one the most captivating and exciting breakthrough artists that 2021 has seen. Whilst Girl in Red has nearly twenty singles in her discography, this debut album has been craved by her fanbase. Similar to that of Billie Eilish, Girl in Red doesn’t restrict herself to just one sound world, exploring a darker lo-fi sound on it would feel like this to upbeat bedroom pop in hornylovesickness. Ulven’s debut album may not demonstrate all the emotion that her singles do but for a first album it delivers excitement and creates a certain atmosphere that leaves the listeners lusting after live concerts again.
‘if i could make it go quiet is abundant in colour; Ulven has created an album which feels both liberating and cathartic.’
Whilst it may not be deliberate, each song feels as though it could have been plucked straight from the soundtrack of a ‘coming of age’ film, which is appropriate given that the majority of Girl in Red’s demographic lies somewhere between 13-21. Ulven knows her target audience and knows her fans; utilising this to produce a mature yet energetic sound. Serotonin is the perfect example of how Ulven is able to capture a sensitive and somewhat taboo topic in a wonderfully rowdy and buoyant way.
Having worked with Finneas, Billie Eilish’s brother, Ulven has normalized intrusive thoughts in a way that encourages others to be honest about how they really feel. This theme of mental fatigue and darkness is somewhat a focal point of the record, yet as a whole it never feels too dark and bleak, again, demonstrating that Ulven knows her audience and wants to normalize the discussion of mental health without it feeling too dreary.
if i could make it go quiet is abundant in colour; Ulven has created an album which feels both liberating and cathartic. The loud roars of her vocals on Stupid Bitch and Did You Come? accompany the tracks’ bold and brazen lyrics which match with the hazy distorted guitars and drums. These tracks provide the perfect angsty soundtrack to every teenager. On the other hand, tracks such as midnight love and apartment 402 are gentle and romantic, showcasing how versatile Ulven’s music can be.
The intimacy of these tracks is similar to that of Taylor Swift’s Folklore; incidentally Swift being a huge inspiration for Ulven. In an interview for Vulture, Ulven shared: “I’m inspired by Taylor Swift on so many levels. She’s been in this industry so long, gotten the worst that any artist can get when it comes to how the world talks about them, but she still always bounces back with great music.” For any woman in the music industry, it has its own obstacles that the average listener may not know about, for Ulven, Swift is a figurehead for each female musician.
There are so many feelings that are expressed in different ways on this album each track, each highlighting how captivating Girl in Red truly is. She is already discussing how she wants to release another album which, hopefully, means that a 2022 tour is on the horizon for all Girl in Red fans.
Written by: Amber Frost
Edited by: Olivia Stock