Every good road trip needs a playlist that tracks the highs and lows of the trip. From those opening hours where excitement reigns, to the middle hours where the enthusiasm ebbs and flows, before picking itself up again just as the trip reaches its culmination. For girl in red, it’s these road trips that helped shape what is her debut album if i could make it go quiet. Crafted over the eight hour trips to a nestled away studio in Bergen, girl in red used these road trips to shape together 11 tracks that when pieced together, create an insight into the solo and solitary conversations and thought processes she has experienced where she questions her own self worth, the relationships in her life and her in/ability to prioritise her health before others.
After releasing a string of singles and EPs over the past few years, including 2018 and 2019’s Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 EPs, girl in red brings the punchiness of those previous releases to if i could make it go quiet, an album full of Nordic indie-punk, much in the same vein as Slotface. Drip feeding the albums to the masses over the past 12 months, it is evident from the opening notes of the album that girl in red knows how to craft a catchy and intellectual 3 minutes of music glory.
Opening track “Serotonin”, written and produced in conjunction with Finneas, is a tale of mental health awareness and struggles associated with living your life while being challenged by intrusive thoughts and doubts. Hidden behind a soaring pop guitar hook, the verse breakdown is the beauty of the song as the album gives more than a fair nod of where the remainder of the release is headed. Followed quickly by “Did You Come”, a song cut from the same cloth as “Serotonin”, you can picture “Did You Come” going off in a small band room; floors covered in sweat and spilt drinks. It has a level of restraint to it that “Serotonin” doesn’t, which probably makes it a more complete song.
With hints of goth similar to Lorde and Bishop Briggs, “Body and Mind” shows a vulnerability to girl in red, as she opens herself up and alludes to the damage caused by letting her guard down. “Hornylovesickmess” starts off in a canter before closing out on a solemn and reflective note, as girl in red talks about her love life and wanting to maybe try things again with a former flame. It’s a song anyone can relate to, whether they’re in a relationship or not.
Another single released in the lead up to the album, “Midnight Love” has a friends-with-benefits theme written all over it, while also delving into the mismatch of power that can happen in these types of relationships. Talking about the dynamic of dropping everything for someone and getting nothing in return (physical, emotional, other), “Midnight Love” shows that girl in red is just like every other red-blooded person who’s been walked all over by someone else. Followed up by the relentless “You Stupid Bitch”, with its Yungblud tinge, the first half of if i could make it go quiet is nothing but hits in the making, if they aren’t already.
The second half of the album is a little more toned down than the first but just as elegant and completely great. “Rue”, a song as euphoric and hopeful as it is melancholic and depressing, draws its inspiration from the character of the same name in the show Euphoria. Drawing comparisons between herself and the character, girl in red touches once more on her mental health struggles throughout “Rue”.
The last quarter of if i could make it go quiet is filled with the folk-tinged “.”, the powerful and endearing “I’ll Call You Mine” (it’s a belter), and album closer “It Would Feel Like This”, a piano-driven, non-verbal moment little more than a minute in length.
At the root of it all, if i could make it go quiet is an album about love. It isn’t necessarily groundbreaking content, but the way girl in red delivers it and places herself firmly into each and every one of the tracks does make if i could make it go quiet something entirely special. From beginning to end, the album traverses a variety of emotions, stories, content and vibes, just as every good (or bad) road trip does.