Out Now: Rising Indie/Pop Star girl in red Takes a Leap Forward with Debut LP ‘if i could make it go quiet’ (Listen)

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

A few years of EPs and early releases put girl in red on many folks’ radar, and today, the 22-year-old Norwegian singer/songwriter born Marie Ulven released her debut full-length album, if i could make it go quiet.

The new record fully capitalizes on that momentum, and will surely set up girl in red for a significant boost in attention in the coming months and beyond.

There’s a maturity of focus and musical cohesion at work throughout the record, which was first previewed with “Serotonin,” a confessional, grunge-tinged slab of indie-rock (featuring production work from FINNEAS), highlighted by an infectious refrain and Ulven tackling her own battles with depression and mental health, topics that come up frequently in her lyrics:

There’s no depth to these feelings
Dig deep, can’t hide
From the corners of my mind
I’m terrified of what’s inside
I get 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?

Songs like “Did You Come?” (in which Ulven lyrically confronts an unfaithful ex) and “hornylovesickmess” (another confessional tale of the toll of being a touring musician) work as musical diary entries, more or less, with Ulven exposing her innermost thoughts to the world.

Click here to pre-order if i could make it go quiet on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pre-order if i could make it go quiet on LP from our Rock Cellar Store

“Body and Mind” is among the strongest songs on the record, and it isn’t difficult to imagine the track becoming a major crossover hit for Ulven, should enough people discover the tune. A bit more of an electronic-tinged song than the others, Ulven again confronts her own mental health (and the album’s title is part of the bridge, as well):

Been in the deep end since I realized
There is a difference between body and mind
If I could make it go quiet inside
Get some rest for my weary eyes
Tonight, I’m giving my all for a remedy
Grant myself serenity

Ulven initially began working on the material for this album at home, the COVID-19 pandemic having forced a rearrangement of plans for much of 2020. Via a news release:

She wrote and demoed 11 songs at home, and soon she was borrowing her father’s car to make the eight-hour trek from the Norwegian capital city to Bergen, a city nestled between majestic fjords in an inlet off the North Sea, to record if i could make it go quiet, her debut album out April 30th, 2021. Consider if i could make it go quiet the musical distillation of Ulven’s solitary conversations on the road: it’s an album brimming with the things we wish we could say to others, but tell ourselves instead.

“Every time I left the studio from Bergen, I would listen to hours and hours of my own tracks, and just be like, what can I do better? What can I refine?” she says, recalling her cross-country drives through the Norwegian wilderness to the studio. “Driving is a cathartic thing; it gives this amazing feeling of freedom. I love to talk to myself, so most of the time, if I didn’t listen to my songs, I would just reflect in the car. I read that talking out loud to yourself is healthy, so I’m going to keep doing that. But the drives, they take you out of all the other distractions because you just gotta pay attention to the road. It allows you some headspace.”

“You Stupid Bitch” is the sort of track that should also expand the audience of girl in red, another showcase of the best elements of her songwriting ability. Another of the album’s pre-release singles, the bouncy rhythm, grunge-y guitars and overall energy make it destined to be a favorite at future live gigs:

“There are things on this album that I haven’t been able to talk about in my songwriting previously,” said Ulven of her new material. “‘Serotonin’ is brutally honest, lyrically, especially about having these intrusive thoughts — thoughts of never going to be okay, and thinking my therapist hates me. I stopped going to my therapist because I felt like I was such a big burden for her that she didn’t like me. I’m pretty sure a lot of people have felt that, whether it’s a friend or a family member or a therapist. I’m addressing a lot of things I haven’t been comfortable talking about, or admitting to myself, or even things to tell my closest friends and family.”

Another early single was “Rue,” which slows things down a bit:

The album wraps with the instrumental outro “it would feel like this,” and by the time it fades out, a common reaction would be to allow it all to start playing over again. It’s a tidy 33-minute exercise in music at its rawest, most affecting and versatile.

The different stylistic approaches taken by Ulven throughout its 11 songs present an artist unafraid to try things a little bit differently, challenging herself to fully make an artistic statement that will leave a mark on those who experience it.

Listen to if i could make it go quiet below.

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