Girl In Red has never been one to mince words. Ever since she first made her debut on SoundCloud, her music has got to the point. Feelings aren’t clouded in a layer of euphemism, instead laid bare for all to hear. if i could make it go quiet takes that concept and runs with it.
Album opener ‘Serotonin’ immediately deals with the difficult. Detailing Marie Ulven’s struggle with intrusive thoughts “like cutting my hands off, like jumping in front of a bus”, the track’s initially upbeat production is underscored by a running heartbeat, slowly building in its intensity, until we end up in a doctor’s office as Marie, in Norwegian, details her panic attack.
The album’s first half is driven by a sense of urgency. Tracks like ‘Did You Come’ and ‘You Stupid Bitch’ fly by. Underpinned by an anger born of a betrayal by a significant other, the tracks exude an unfiltered energy, becoming cathartic bangers, made for screaming along to – or diving into a sweaty crowd to.
As Ulven progresses, we see her thoughts and feelings develop with her. The second half of the record moves away from the louder, unfiltered tracks, to more subtle and pensive numbers. Marie is still dealing with her struggles, and the walls that are built up in her mind, and her signature un-abridged nature still exists, but Marie’s need to belt out every thought as it comes subsides. ‘Apartment 402’ sees her realise that there finally may be an escape from the overwhelming thoughts, “But there’s a crack in every wall / is there a way out after all?”
if i could make it go quiet ends with an answer to the question that its title poses. The ninety-second long instrumental, ‘it would sound like this’ gives us the breath that at times the album seems not to take. Filling us with a calm that maybe, Marie has finally managed to find. A break from the intrusive thoughts to appreciate what she has gone through.
While she may have enlisted FINNEAS on production on one track, at its heart this is still a Girl In Red album. There are still moments where she scales evertything back to match earlier Girl In Red work, but overall Marie has outgrown the Soundcloud singer label that has followed her since her breakthrough.
This is a record of catharsis. Not just for Marie, but for its listener too. A reminder that no matter how we identify or how we are feeling, we are not alone.
if i could make it go quiet has been an album long in the pipeline, and it’s all the better for it. Girl In Red has managed to create an incredibly constructed record, that takes the listener on an emotional journey right along with her. If Marie is aiming to paint the world red, this album puts her well on the path to do that.
if i could make it go quiet is out now on all platforms, and you can listen here