Meet girl in red: Music's Next Catharsis Queen
The quippy Norwegian folk-pop newcomer has caught the attention and affection of many, not least the genre-flouting Swift herself. Romantic, devastating and hilarious, 22-year old Marie Ulven Ringheim has the world beyond Norway at her feet.
Photo: if i could make it go quiet album artwork (world in red/AWAL).
if i could make it go quiet is an album title with the sort of confessional aching we’ve come to recognize from Billie Eilish. Perhaps even the various rappers from the sadboy generation. We’ve watched legions of so-called catharsis pop royalty from lonely bedroom to stadium and back. Perhaps lower case is a whisper cry of one’s confessions?
Nineteen singles, two EPs and one debut album is the fruit of an angsty teen’s lo-fi home project put together in her cosy family home. Sound familiar? The only difference is there was no big brother Finneas and no Los Angeles fanfare surrounding girl in red’s nest. Inspired by the internet, her musical grandfather, and a mother in tech, she taught herself guitar, piano and production from watching videos and listening to her heroes and now contemporaries. Like Billie and Lana, this isolation and unglamorous rise has meant her sound has come to be completely organic and as such, completely her own. And OK, to be fair, FINNEAS did muscle in on the album’s production...
Loud and quiet
The reverb-drenched sound of if i could make it go quiet compliments the paranoiac lyricism and anger threading through this LPs songs of heartbreak and renewal. She’s hurting, expressive, honest and funny without being trite or overbearing. It’s easy to see why songwriting uber pro Taylor Swift has been raving about girl in red’s artistic prowess. You can hear impressions of 90s and 00s romantic pop and indie; there’s something refreshing about a musician not trying to invent something new, but grabbing our attention with their quirky skillset nonetheless.
The vast country is dark for many months of the year, and youth culture is deeply impacted. TV shows like Skam and other NRK series depict the often bored, grizzly, gritty reality of teenage existence in a country plagued by the long winter months. Dry sardonic wit and taboo subjects aren’t shied away from in these shows, and it’s clear to see girl in red is from this generation of ruthlessly honest and shameless youngsters.
girl in red may have had a ready-made audience lying in wait after the thirst they showed for fellow aforementioned catharsis queens Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, plus Gus Dapperton and the entire sadboy generation, but her essence is still rather unique. Listen to these and perhaps discover more about how girl in red’s sound has evolved by sparking moodagents.
In a long-serving pop hemisphere that tells stories about boys fighting for girls and girls crying over boys, it’s duly time for folk-pop explicitly about girls breaking other girls' hearts; girls driving girls to the movies, sneaking around stealing kisses behind parents’ backs. All the things young lovers do, told through a young gay girl’s eyes for once.