by Jack Ognibene
It’s disheartening to hear the state of girl in red’s music on her latest LP, if i could make it go quiet. The EPs she released previously showed genuine promise in her songwriting and in her ability to hit upon certain moods. Tracks like “We Fell in Love in October” and “i wanna be your girlfriend” were indie gems that were hugely successful both commercially and artfully, and showed immense talent in her musical ability. This newest collection of tracks, however, can succinctly be described in two words: bland and unoriginal. There isn’t that spark that appeared in her previous work – all that’s left is the droning, persistent thought of how this could have been so much more.
The main problem with this album, overall, is just how forgettable and unnoteworthy the tracks are. There isn’t anything outwardly egregious on this album, but it’s all just so simplistic and repetitive that listening through all of the tracks becomes a chore. There are several points on this album where it seems like you’re listening to the same song over and over again, or you notice that girl in red is using the same drum fill or vocal rhythm or piano chords as some different track. This is even evident on the first two tracks – the second that “Did You Come?” starts, the most striking aspect of the song is that the vocal rhythm is completely identical to the previous track, “Serotonin.” On at least five songs on this album, there’s a point in the bridge where the melody gets quiet before the final chorus plays, and that cliche gets old by about the second time it happens. The melodies themselves are all super simplistic as well, to the point where most songs become indistinguishable. The entire album sounds so formulaic and one-note that one questions the amount of work that went into it, at least as compared with girl in red’s previous work.
The lyrics on the album are generally either extremely vague and nonspecific or encompass the phrase “all edge and no point.” There’s a lot on the album about mental illness and depression, which at least in intention is appreciable, but to be frank, a lot of it just sounds like someone who hasn’t experienced depression writing what they think someone who has experienced depression would write. When it’s not touching on mental illness, it’s presenting generic and overused love song cliches that I’m sure listeners have heard millions of times before by this point. A prime example of this is “hornylovesickness,” which aside from having no engaging instrumental or rhythmic qualities also lyrically sounds like a collection of lines ripped from other songs hobbled together into one mess. Honestly, at some points you could literally predict the next line she’s about to say, and that’s genuinely irritating considering the nuance and feeling she put into her previous two EPs.
Both lyrically and instrumentally, girl in red does nothing interesting on if i could make it go quiet. Sure, most of the time the songs sound cohesive, and sometimes she throws something interesting into the mix – I really like the bass on the chorus of “Body and Mind,” and the arpeggiating strings on “midnight love” were quite soothing (even though they get drowned out in the mix about 10 seconds in the song). But through and through, there isn’t a shred of originality on this album. To a degree, it seems like girl in red didn’t care about this album, at least not enough to put proper work into it, and it shows. I suppose, in that, it lives up to its name – one really wonders what would happen if this album just went quiet.