girl in red – if i could make it go quiet: review

Within the slightly dominant (indie)world of bedroom/dream pop, there have been many great artists emerging and creating these clean breaths of fresh air as they expand on their sound. Norwegian indie pop rock artist, Girl in red, is one of those artists. From her early days of complex (thematically) bedroom pop to her the ever-expanding array of different sonic directions, this vibrant cohesion between her vocals and instrumentations are at center stage on her new release if i could make it go quiet. This indie rock album is full of emotional depth and bombastically vibrant rock and pop instrumentals, as we are given unique perspective on mental health and relationships.

We all know how difficult 2020 has been, and because of it there has been a slightly bigger focus on mental health, especially amongst the upper echelon. But even behind the celebrity-like coating, we share these wrought problems. Musicians and other artists have shown their emotions through it with new releases, from Folklore to How I’m Feeling, there has been an expression of their lives, physically and mentally throughout the pandemic. Girl In red never shies away from making music that captures the intricacies behind the social stigma behind the idea of mental health and that is what lets the album shine and stand apart from many artists doing similarly.  

Girl in red has taken emotional moments/events that came about in her life, during the pandemic, and has created these songs that break apart the effects it has on her being – oft times taking different approaches to the overall projection, like on “You Stupid Bitch,” which sees her talking to herself in third person. She breaks apart these hallucinations she’s been having about love and connectivity, and further showing the importance of self-love. Her writing takes a constant step up, though it wasn’t ever something she struggled with. The production with Norweigan instrumentalist Mattias Tellez, shows a continuous growth, even if you aren’t always getting a lush array of new bedroom pop.

If I could make it go quiet doesn’t completely deter from dream/bedroom pop-overtones that have been a focal point of her sound since the beginning. Starting with the illustrious rock anthem “Serotonin,” it sets a mood for the production notes of the tracks we’ll get. It carries an amplification of the electric guitar to empower the vocal performance of Girl in red, which then balances with some indie-pop vocalizations on other songs, like on “I’ll Call You Mine.” But the detachment from some oversimplified electronic (non guitar) notes, takes center stage like how “Serotonin” does as the opening song and reeling you further into the music.

“Serotonin,” has an extra layering of rock subtexts by co-producer/writer Finneas O’Connell. Its namesake is the kind of natural chemical that balances out the imbalance within mood and the lack of is one of many potential reasons for one’s depression. The way she delivers the chorus takes an uproarious approach with her rock anthem projecting vocal mixing, which continues on subsequent tracks in different ways, specifically in the songs “Did You Come” and “Rue.” 

The instrumental landscape has a focal point of the electric guitar that adds a second emotional coating to Girl in red’s vocal performance. Her vocals evoke a similar style to it, with a rough-patch overlay, which in some songs sounds like she is singing from afar. It’s the way she has been able to keep certain moody-melodic transitions smoothly from song to song. The moments of deviation from a rock – core allows her to fully dive into the roots of her emotional being and seeing it fleshed out through the various sonic contexts of the songs. At times we hear these nuances to garage rock with the way the instrumental and vocals are mixed. It switches between that and the polished work on songs like “Midnight Love.” It can deter you slightly; even though the transitions are remarkable with the way it uses the vocal performances to key in sonic transitions.

Songs like “hornylovesickmess” and “.” evoke keynotes in the transitional delivery from verse to chorus, eventually closing with a bedroom-dream pop overlay on the outro. This example only notes the complexities between the song-to-song transitions. “Midnight Love” is what follows “hornylovesickmess” and it starts with a melancholic vocal textures, which aligns more with the preceding song’s outro and it ends with a uproarious rock instrumental that aligns more with the rock sound of “You Stupid Bitch.”

The further the album progresses, the more the curtains open as she distinguishes these stories with the burgeoning emotions from the events in her life. At times the content of the song is reflective with the tonal mood of the instrumentation, like the vibrant-pop rock instrumental of “Apartment 402,” which shows a contrasting glee from the dark and broken aspect of the apartment. This apartment has allowed her to feel certain ways and lead to a kind of happiness that equates to a kind of solace if she were to die in her comfort zone. The way she dives into her subconscious allows for a beautiful cohesion of sounds in her music and as it starts with “Serotonin,” she solidifies it with “Apartment 402,” as it maintains a lingering thought in our mind.

Girl in red has always shown her strengths in minimalist detail and expands her tonal melodies to empower the thematic meaning within these cohesion of songs. That is what makes If I could make it go quiet a loud centerpiece that reaches into the core of many who relay their own connectivity and will create more intrigue for the newcomers. 

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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