ELIO'S INFERNO

ELIO

ELIO'S INFERNO

As the title of this mixtape suggests, Toronto pop chameleon ELIO isn’t afraid to burn it all down. The lead-off quasi title track, “inferno,” wastes no time working itself up into the sort of urgent dance-pop earworm that’s earned her co-signs from Charli XCX and Troye Sivan. But 50 seconds in, the tape seemingly melts down, the song abruptly comes to a halt, and we hear ELIO declare: “No, I don’t want to write like that.” Those words comprise the opening line to the following “TYPECAST,” a futurist-R&B creeper where ELIO announces her refusal to be put in a box. And the rest of ELIO’S INFERNO reaffirms that sentiment, as she veers between breezy indie-pop relationship requiems (“new and improved”); jittery, synthy love songs (“Vitamins”); and profane gothic-soul kiss-offs (“Read the Room”). But no matter what form her tracks take, they’re united by ELIO’s incomparable candor and belief in music as therapy: While the closing “off my chest” begins with a playful admission of anxiety, the song’s ascendent rock-anthem structure packs all the stress-relieving power of a deep exhale.

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