Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Quebec R&B singer-songwriter Magi Merlin began building her name with a string of singles and EPs over the past couple of years. But she takes it up a notch with her debut LP, Gone Girl, her most sonically adventurous and lyrically fearless outing yet. “Originally, my plan was to release music in conjunction with each season,” Merlin tells Apple Music. “Gone Girl was supposed to be for summer. With that in mind, all the songs in this project are really hot, energizing, and confident.” Dipping into a grab bag of grooves—from R&B and hip-hop to house, drum ’n’ bass, and alt-pop, courtesy of producer Funkywhat—these seven tracks paint a portrait of a bold artist coming into her own. Here, she breaks down the album, track by track. “Milkweed” “This is about a friend who helped me out of depression. We had developed this strange, long-distance relationship where we were emotionally together but physically not in the same country—this open-relationship type thing. When this song was written, I was feeling suffocated by him. I wanted to let off some steam and talk about how I really care for him and want to see him grow, but also say, ‘You’re not entitled to my time, and I can’t give you my entire self.’ It was very cathartic. I was letting off steam and being a bit humorous in my delivery. Everything I do is pretty much freestyle. Instrumentally, what got me is that there’s lots of space for my lyrics to peek out. I had never played with my vocals like that before. It’s the first time I leaned into this raspy tone and said, ‘Let’s do some vocal runs.’” “Free Grillz” “This is arch rap. It’s my trap moment. Actually, it was Funky’s idea. He made this beat and said, ‘You need to go full rap.’ I had never done a rap song before. I was like, ‘I don’t even know how to approach that.’ It was so sick. I really like when Funky presents me with different challenges, and I can prove to myself I’m able to do it, ’cause I was doubtful. When it came to the lyrics, I wanted to go in the direction of rap clichés, like money, but through my eyes. I wanted to try and be a rapper. I had never gone in the vein of being overly cocky. I also wanted to talk about misogyny. I was like, ‘Let’s figure out a way to talk shit about some dudes.’ I thought it was pretty funny.” “In Between” “This interlude ended up having a jungle feeling to it. It’s very ‘out in the wild.’ I feel like that is the Gone Girl. She’s kind of free, running around, singing about girls with fat asses, loving her life. It’s kind of pretty.” “Pissed Black Girl” “This one’s a bit more loaded. I wrote it in the summer of 2020. I had this wack experience that was just really hard to navigate as a Black woman, seeing violence against Black people all the time on my phone, and especially after the death of George Floyd and during the Black Lives Matter protests. I really looked at my experiences and my identity as a Black woman. As I had grown up in white suburbia, I was usually the only Black person in the room. That is my Black experience. Musically, I was listening to a lot of KAYTRANADA. I really love the juxtaposition of my feelings and the easiness of this song, the danceability of it. There’s kind of this effortlessness about it. Like, ‘You made me super fucking angry, but I’m still going to dance, and you’ll be left alone.'” “Children of Fate” “This is about nepotism. I was thinking about interviews and selling oneself to people. And that had me thinking about nepotism and people who are gifted opportunity at birth, and the conflict I have with that, personally. I kind of hate them for that, but it’s something they couldn’t help. Basically, I hate people who are gifted opportunity but don’t use it.” “Gone Girl Interlude” “When I wrote this snippet, I wanted to open the door to having the Gone Girl character not just be me. It’s anyone. The end of the track is, ‘Gone Girls, come hang out with me at the top.’ It’s trying to be uplifting and open the door to anybody.” “No Ego” “This one, me and Funky built together. It started off as a joke. It’s the same notes as the ‘All I Need’ interlude from the Drug Music EP, just sped up, with these drums made super fast. I started freestyling on that, doing this yelling, talk-singing bit for the verses. At the time, I was reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and a bunch of books about straight-up nihilism or spirituality, or science books like Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmic Queries. It’s pretty existential.”

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