Released: 30th April 2021
A lot is riding on the debut album from two-time former Dork cover star girl in red. While many musicians might find themselves shackled by the expectations of enormous advances, pre-game hype or ridiculous demands from the suits upstairs, Marie Ulven has something altogether more important with which to contend. Namely, the hopes and expectations of thousands of young, devoted fans. Deep breaths out, everyone – ‘if i could make it go quiet’ delivers and then some.
It’s fair to say that girl in red isn’t the kind of icon that always exists easily in the always-on, razzle-dazzle, like-and-subscribe zeitgeist. Battling with the same insecurities, self-doubts and imperfect actions as the rest of us, it’s Marie’s humanity that shines through on a first full-length that proves more than worth a sensibly prolonged gestation period.
Open, raw and honest – ‘if i could make it go quiet’ is also, perhaps, a subtly different album to the one many might have expected. Unafraid to go in big and bold, it mixes Marie’s different emotional speeds with a quiet swagger. Opener ‘Serotonin’ might claim to be running low, but it’s more than bright enough to charge up those Vitamin D levels. ‘Did You Come’ does mean what you think it might, while ‘You Stupid Bitch’ is ingrained with petulant frustration. But while the front half of the record may often be turned to full volume, the second, generally, is more subtle. Previous single ‘Rue’ remains a delicate delight, while ‘Apartment 402’ is intricate and contemplative.
In laying it all out on show, ‘if i could make it go quiet’ is a debut album without airs and graces, delivered with an unquestionable flourish. Swirling in the complicated, often contradictory emotions of everyday life, it’s relatable, affirming and more than occasionally profoundly affecting. Marie Ulven might not have set out to be someone to look up to, but by being nothing but her true self, girl in red certainly is.