Girl With No Face

Girl With No Face

“I live in a weird world,” Allie X declares at the start of her third album, but really, it’s a line she could’ve sung at any point in her career to date. Though her penchant for electropop earworms has put her in the writers’ room for major artists like BTS and Troye Sivan, the chameleonic LA-based singer/producer has always a harbored the soul of a misfit, an outsider identity cultivated by a lifetime battle with an autoimmune illness and her formative years in Toronto’s late-2000s indie-rock scene. Allie’s semi-autobiographical 2020 album, Cape God, was a testament to her alt/pop-crossover savvy, pulling in guest features from Sivan and Mitski and contributions from songwriting pros like Simon Wilcox and JP Saxe. But Girl With No Face is all Allie: During the pandemic, Allie was forced to go the DIY route behind the boards—a steep learning curve that accounts for the album’s nearly four-year gestation. But within those technical limitations, she found the freedom to be her truest self—Girl With No Face is an in-your-face hit of futurist pop informed by the icy synthscapes of Kraftwerk and post-goth textures of New Order as much as the empowering dance-tent anthems of Madonna and Lady Gaga. “This is probably the most cohesive thing that I've done,” Allie tells Apple Music. “It just happened naturally, because it was only me, and it was only my taste. I definitely was intentional about this sound—it sort of became an antidote to a lot of the commercial pop world that I literally live inside of in Los Angeles. So this is where I've been musically, just loving that UK post-punk spirit of the early ’80s a few years now. I just can't get enough of it.” Here, Allie X peels back the layers on Girl With No Face, track by track. “Weird World” “This was written at the beginning of the pandemic, when there was this uncertainty and dystopian feeling that I think everybody had. But I was also coming to terms with the reality of my career. The Cape God period had been so busy and then it all just came to a halt very quickly, so I was able to look under the hood of the car and realize everything was very tangled and twisted and not sustainable. So 'Weird World' sort of coincided with this decision I made to make a lot of changes and transitions both creatively and within my business. The 'weird world' is this idea of seeing things as they actually are, and how that can actually be an empowering moment, even though it's a sad moment.” “Girl With No Face” “I've been trying to figure out who this song is about. It just flowed sort of through me when I co-wrote it with my partner, George Pimentel. I got a sense that she was like this sort of vengeful figure who's maybe kind of witty. But now I think of 'the girl with no face' as this presence that emerged as I was alone in a room for years writing this record. She’s like this layer of myself, or this ghost or this voice in the room with me that could be heard but not seen, and she gave me the strength and the aggression that I needed to get through this project. She’s my invisible muse—my cunty muse!” “Off With Her Tits” “It's hard for me to get too in detail on this one, because I just like this song to speak for itself. The best thing I can say about the song is that it’s a ridiculous satirization of torturous thoughts, where I felt like I could take some power back by just making fun of them.” “John and Jonathan” “I was at a fan meet-and-greet in New York in 2018, and two fans came up and were like, 'Hi, I'm John, and this is my boyfriend, Jonathan. We love your music!' And I was like, ‘Wait—your names are John and Jonathan? Okay, I gotta write a song called “John and Jonathan”!’ I was on a walk in [the Toronto suburb of] Oakville near my parents’ house with my boyfriend, and I remember being on a pier and it just came to me: 'John and Jonathan/Are on the town.' I got so excited and went back home and just started recording right away. I've written so many of my most successful songs in Oakville at my parents' dining room table.” “Galina” “I have really bad eczema in my inner elbows, and I found this Russian lady named Galina at this naturopathic clinic in Toronto. For years, she made me this cream in her kitchen that worked better than steroids. She would always say, 'It cost me more to make this than I'm charging you. I get this man in the Swiss Alps to gather these herbs and I make you this cream.' She was pretty old, so I always worried: 'What happens when Galina retires? It's not like this is some patented product.' So sure enough, in the summer of 2022, I returned to the clinic, and I was like, 'Could I place an order for the cream from Galina?' And the lady was like, 'Oh, Galina has retired.' And I was like, ‘What!?! Did she tell anyone the recipe?' And she was like, 'No, she won't tell. There's nothing we can do—Galina has lost her memory.' So the song is about somebody that you've come to rely on who just coldly leaves your life without something that you need.” “Hardware Software” “This was not something I thought about intentionally, I just sort of improvised it. And I imagine those words came out because I had been spending so much time in front of a computer. I just remember doing that silly rap and cracking myself up, by myself.” “Black Eye” “I've never dealt with physical domestic abuse; my abuse comes more from just the way that I treat myself and my own body. I always feel like I'm almost willing to throw myself out of a building for the sake of art or for the sake of my career. That's what this song is about: my life experience of having a body that is quite fragile. It's not supposed to do a lot of the stuff that I make it do. There's all this stress and all these physical challenges that I subjected myself to over and over. So 'Black Eye' is about how it almost starts to feel natural doing that. And it starts to feel like a high—and that's when it gets really scary, when these things that are definitely bad for you start to feel good in a way. But there's also wit in those lyrics and in the idea of, like, ‘Yeah, bring it on.’” “You Slept on Me” “This song was inspired by a tweet that I've seen over and over throughout my career: ‘Y’all are sleeping on Allie X.’ So I thought I'd just have a bit of fun with that.” “Saddest Smile” “I think I'm commenting on my tendency to be melancholic, and the idea that if there isn't some pain behind a smile, I don't believe it. Like, I don't believe it in myself, and I don't believe it in others. Unfortunately, I believe in the struggle—that's so deeply ingrained in me. I have this core belief that things aren't worth it unless there was some painful journey to get there. It's a belief that I'd like to get rid of—I've discussed it in therapy. It's very strong in me.” “Staying Power” “I wrote this after having a really rough year, health-wise. 'Staying Power' is an acknowledgment of my superpower as I see it, which is a really high pain tolerance. It's very direct and very sarcastic. This feels like me having a conversation with someone that I'm really close and comfortable with.” “Truly Dreams” “This was a co-write with my partner, and it has a funk in there that wouldn't have been there if I had written it myself. So because of the bounciness of the song, I just went to this more optimistic disco kind of place. I always had drag queens in mind when I wrote this. I really relate to drag queens, and this idea that we can put on our look and get out there and live our fantasy. Like ‘Staying Power,’ it's a perseverance song, but in a more fantastical way.”

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