girl in red – if i could make it go quiet

A bold debut album from the Norwegian rule-breaker...

Pop is being re-shaped from the ground up. A new wave of bedroom auteurs are exploding rules and definitions, using streaming services as a way to circumvent traditional routes of exposure. Norway’s Marie Ulven is at the forefront of this movement – as girl in red, she’s released some stellar EPs, garnering a huge global audience with her stark yet infectious tales of life as a queer woman.

‘if I could make it go quiet’ is her long awaited full length, and the good news is that girl in red has crunched her ideas down to a super-strong, ultra-punchy 11 track song cycle. Defining but in a quietly naturalistic way, ‘if i could make it go quiet’ is dominated by a real sense of assurance, with girl in red working on her own terms, to tell her own story.

Opener ‘serotonin’ is a superb blast of electronic pop, playful but still rooted in real life. Indeed, it’s a gateway drug into girl in red’s explicit realism, with the album marked by dating turmoil, self-doubt, and Gen Z eroticism.

‘Did You Come’ dares to ask the question, exploring satisfaction and mutual recognition.’hornylovesickmess’ lives up to its title, with girl in red somehow barfing out those pent up lockdown feelings over a gorgeous digital tapestry.

Indeed, one of the primary characteristics about her debut album is the importance of production. Tones are contoured, the palette is defined, as Marie Ulven moves with utmost confidence. ‘I’ll Call You Mine’ is slim, sleak, and deadly, while ‘You Stupid Bitch’ has a punk-like rawness to its execution, a world away from the super-commercial sound Scandinavian pop has come to represent.

Walking her own path, girl in red feels free to reinvent the rules as she goes along. Short, sharp blasts of digital sound, ‘if I could make it go quiet’ is a mesh of emotion and a mess of feeling – from the introspection of ‘Rue’ to the 90 second (!) closing statement ‘it would feel like this’.

Three years on from her debut EP, ‘if I could make it go quiet’ finds girl in red re-stating her independence, queering pop’s rules to find a space she can call her own. It’s inspiring, and above all else incredibly catchy.


Words: Robin Murray

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