if i could make it go quiet (Apple Music Edition)

girl in red

if i could make it go quiet (Apple Music Edition)

Towards the end of “Serotonin,” the opening track on girl in red’s debut album, some Norwegian dialogue emerges through the bracing alloy of indie rock and hip-hop. “That recording is where I’m talking to the doctor,” the singer-songwriter born Marie Ulven tells Apple Music. “My friend had to carry me out from a lobby in Bergen while I was making the album because I woke up, thought I had a blood clot in my brain, and was like, ‘I’m about to die.’ I’m like, ‘OK, it felt like my heart stopped beating.’” It’s a moment that exemplifies the album’s remarkable openness—manifested by Ulven’s emotional honesty and her anything-goes approach to making music. “Serotonin” details the Norwegian’s experiences with intrusive thoughts, and across the subsequent 10 tracks, she performs an unflinching internal audit, processing her feelings, anxieties, and behaviors and their effects on herself and her loved ones. It’s all cast in a free-spirited brand of alt-pop that dissolves genre boundaries and shreds the “bedroom indie” tag that accompanied her early DIY EPs. The result is something that she hopes will offer help to anyone who listens. “It would be really cool if I was able to say some shit about their lives, not just mine,” she says. “The best thing about music is when you hear a song where someone is explaining what you felt but you’re not able to say because you haven’t dared to try and figure it out, or haven’t had the time.” Let girl in red take you through the album, track by track.
“Serotonin” “[Intrusive thoughts] can be really scary and make you feel really crazy if you don’t know what they are, where they’re coming from, and how to deal with them. It was so liberating, knowing that I’m not crazy and that I don’t want to do these things, and then I just felt like I was over it almost. Then I wrote the song. It was just a weird journey figuring out the rap parts, but they came really quick. It was not a hard time writing those lyrics. They poured out of me.”
“Did You Come?” “There’s no proper chorus there. The entire thing is just like a vibe. It’s hooky, and that’s all you need. I started out with the lyrics first: ‘You should know better now to fuck it up and fuck around.’ I was like, ‘Oh, this is cheating. Someone is really fucking angry here, and this is a great way to get out this aggression.’ I started making really fast-paced drums and this guitar and this piano thing. It really made me see a lot of stuff in my head.”
“Body and Mind” “I’ve experienced a lot of self-hatred this past year, which I’ve never really understood. Realizing that you are a person is really fucking weird. I think a lot of people struggle with accepting mortality. People fixing up their bodies, changing themselves because they just want to avoid the inevitable, which is dying and aging. This is me trying to comfort myself: ‘I’ve had my deepest cries for now/My heart’s out, my guard’s down.’ I’m accepting this shit, and I don’t want to beat myself up for being a person. I think aging as a concept is really beautiful because it just means that you’re alive still.”
“hornylovesickmess” “It’s a fun, self-aware track about how my life led me to be a jerk to someone a little bit and also being really sad that touring had its toll on my relationship with this person. My favorite line is ‘Maybe on a bus for months straight, shit’s fun but I’m going insane/Like it’s been months since I’ve had sex, I’m just a horny little lovesick mess.’ Just this fun image of me being with 10 sweaty guys on the tour bus, and being in a bunk bed thinking about this one person that I just want to call right now.”
“midnight love” “I had a friend that would always get a guy over late at night. Then he would leave in the morning and they would never hang out during daytime. It was really getting to her. I was like, ‘Oh, this reminds me of someone.’ I was that dude who would just call someone when I felt like ‘I need this and I know that you are able to give it to me, so therefore I will call you.’ I’d never had any bad intentions. But I was able to realize a few things about myself.”
“You Stupid Bitch” “The story here is that I had to go and comfort someone because of their broken relationships with other people. But really: ‘I’m here, I could be yours right now and you wouldn’t be going through all of this if you just saw how present I am and how much I want to be with you.’ It’s about being so angry but still comforting someone: ‘I love you but you’re fucking stupid.’ It is a really intense song, but it’s going to go hard live.”
“Rue” “I’m singing to my sister. I had to sleep in her bed for weeks straight because I’ve just been so scared. Every time I was about to fall asleep, I felt like my heart stopped beating, so I’d want to be in her bed in case I died. I’ve just been completely all over the place. This is singing to my family and loved ones that I want to get better. I’m trying to leave it all behind. I don’t want to make it worse for you guys. It’s also about realizing that you have to do the work. If you want to get better mentally, or if you struggle with depression or anxiety, it’s such a heavy realization figuring out that it’s you who has to do it.”
“Apartment 402” “I live in Apartment 402. I’m imagining myself lying on the floor because I’ve lost every will to do anything. I’m singing about how shitty things have been for so long; I have a sense of hopelessness. But then I’m seeing the sun come in. You know when you see the sunlight hit dust? The room is opening up for me. I’m turning this place that I’ve had so many bad feelings towards into something beautiful and into a safe place and a good place—not just a place I could die in and nobody would know.”
“.” “There’s something about the vocal performance that’s just like, ‘Oh, Marie, you really, really know what you’re saying right now.’ That song is really sad and I always want to cry thinking about it. It’s about the one that got away, really. A result of touring and being away a bit too long and not giving enough while being away. And how that can seem like you don’t care, but in reality, in my bubble, I was like, ‘I have absolutely no emotional capacity to be in another country and to give you what I think you need from me right now.’ It just ended up disappearing, and there wasn’t really anything more to say than to just have a full stop.”
“I’ll Call You Mine” “It’s such a catchy, summery, driving song. It’s about letting someone in and hoping for the best, even though you’ve been fucked over a few times. I’ve had a tendency to think that nothing good could ever last. You know how sometimes you have fun but then we’re like, ‘Oh, something bad is going to happen.’ Two or three years ago, I’d have fun with my friends, and I’d be driving and I’d be like, ‘One of us is going to die first.’ That always happens, a real death element coming in, or ‘someone is going to get hurt’ element.”
“it would feel like this” “[The title] if i could make it go quiet is all about the mental noise, all the feelings and thoughts that are so big they just take up your entire mental capacity and take over your entire body. This song feels like ‘If I could make it go quiet, it would feel like this.’ This place of quietness, this beautiful place where I’m able to be OK. I’m taking it all in. It feels like the credits to a movie because the album is so full, you could get to like, ‘Holy cow, what did I just listen to?’ There’s no words. You don’t need any. I’ve just poured my heart out in all of these songs.”

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