if i could make it go quiet
girl in red
2021 • ROCK/ALTERNATIVE • WORLD IN RED/AWAL
Norwegian singer-songwriter girl in red’s debut album shows an amateur singer dealing with the crises of young-adult life and building catchy songs around it.
If all the plans that Marie Ulven had made in 2019 had worked out, 2020 would have been the year of her “world domination.” However, just like everyone else, her plans were spoiled due to the pandemic that spread throughout the year. But, it didn’t discourage her and she kept a promise she had made to herself. “Coronavirus ain’t gonna stop World In Red, baby! I’ve got some pretty dope-ass plans for the winter. I’m gonna be fucking mad if they don’t happen,” she told NME. After two EPs, 2018’s Chapter 1 and 2019’s Chapter 2, and a series of singles, Norwegian singer-songwriter under the stage name girl in red releases her catchy although generic debut.
If I Could Make It Go Quiet, girl in red’s first album, shows an amateur singer, who is still learning how to make some chords talk to lyrics that are still far from perfect, but who is fearless enough to try to achieve this goal. “If I Could Make It Go Quiet is an attempt to learn what it’s like to be human. To deal with the scariest parts of myself. To live with the pain of knowing I’m only flesh and bones,” Ulven defined her album on Instagram. The eleven-track project paints an artist that is still finding her place in the music industry, playing — rather than experimenting — with genres, sounds, and lyrics. When she finds it, she’ll solidify her structures.
Most of the songs on If I Could Make It Go Quiet are, well, kinda generic. They hover over a very usual instrumental in the rock/pop/indie scenario. But, they are still relatively nice and fun. The opener, “Serotonin,” features production by FINNEAS, which explains the similarities with Billie Eilish’s work — heavy instrumentation alongside distorted vocals. The best part of the song, however, is the nice mix between the indie aesthetic from the hooks with the rapped verses, which married very well under the lyrics about depression. Next, the atmospheric “Did You Come?” makes a fun pun between “come” and “cum,” and “Body And Mind,” despite some cringeworthy moments, has a good progression. But, the best one is “rue,” in which Ulven builds a very nice parallel between the character from tv show Euphoria, Rue, who deals with depression and bipolar disorder, and herself. While an acoustic refined sound plays in the background, she sings, “I remember you couldn’t stop crying/You found me when I thought I was dying,” and then, “Don’t wanna make it worse?/I’m gonna make it work.”
On the other hand, some songs in here go beyond the acceptable level of generic sound, in addition to some really bad lyricism. “You Stupid Bitch” is the one that unites these two points. Although it sounds a little nice at first, later, the lyrics get worse and worse — “You stupid bitch, can’t you see?/The perfect one for you is me,” by itself, it’s not bad but the way it’s sung is tacky — and the sound looks more something from some 2003 Avril Lavigne album. Furthermore, while “hornylovesickmess” is nice and “midnight love” has detailed production, both of them sound like something that you probably had heard. It’s necessarily bad, but there’s nothing really different in it.
But, on the final stretch of the record, everything seems to start to go on the right way. In “Apartment 402” she works around her lowest moments, singing, “But there’s a crack in every wall/Is there a way out after all?/If I lose my grip and fall/Will I?” In “.,” by its turn, she becomes more omniscient about her life, singing about moments with her ex and how she won’t tell him that she isn’t ok. But, on the next one, “I’ll Call You Mine,” she finds love again and gets calm. “I’ve been around/And I’ll call you mine, and I’ll/Break me down/And I’ll call you mine,” she sings with melodic and dragged vocals. She finishes the records with an instrumental, “it would feel like this.” After the storm, comes the rainbow. She built everything to tell us this.