When alt-pop singer-songwriter girl in red completed her second album, I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY!, and looked back over what she’d made, she saw a record of polar opposites. “The themes are being on top of the world and feeling in love and feeling amazing and living peak moments from life,” Marie Ulven, the Norwegian artist behind the project tells Apple Music, “and then other moments are reflecting on not being so good.” The follow-up to 2021’s breakthrough if i could make it go quiet is a striking leap forward for Ulven, building on the propulsive anthems that wowed crowds when she bagged a support slot on Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour in 2023. It’s a euphoric record that swaggers from exuberant indie pop to soaring balladry, taking in gliding synth-y sing-alongs and frantic rock anthems along the way. “I wanted to make something that was a very delicate production with cool energy and great lyrics,” says Ulven. “I wanted to elevate what I’ve done before.” It was a process, she states, that involved trusting her instincts. “Something I was really thinking of while making the album was not thinking too much and going with your intuition,” she says. It has resulted in a dazzling second record. Read on as girl in red guides us through it, track by track. “I’m Back” “Even before I had a bunch of the other songs, I was like, ‘“I’m Back” could be the first track.’ It goes through different levels of being hopeful and then feeling like you’re better, but then tapping into that ‘I have been sad.’ The journey for this song is the journey for the whole album, in a way. Also, I’m referencing [if i could make it go quiet’s opener] ‘Serotonin’ in there—it’s the opposite of ‘Serotonin’ and the perfect opening for an album that’s about doing it again.” “DOING IT AGAIN BABY” “This is a similar song to ‘I’m Back,’ where it’s like, ‘I’m happy, I’m positive, I’m energetic, I’m feeling good about myself,’ but it’s on the other side of the scale. Instead of being, ‘Oh, I think I’m doing better,’ it’s like, ‘Fuck yeah, I’m the coolest person in the world!’ It’s capturing the extreme of being back, and that’s why I think it’s a fun song to have right after ‘I’m Back.’ It takes it to a whole new level and it really wakes you up a little bit. It’s got everything in there—banjo, fireworks, weird vocal stuff going on. It’s a fun song. It’s definitely one of the coolest songs I’ve ever made.” “Too Much” “I think ‘Too Much’ is fun to have right after ‘DOING IT AGAIN BABY’ because that song is about being a lot and then ‘Too Much’ is about being confronted with the world again, or people around you who think you’re a lot. On the emotional journey of the album, this is where there’s a little bit of a dip because there’s a bit of sadness in here as well as ‘No, I’m going to be exactly how much I need to be.’ I feel like it’s an empowering song [about] not letting anyone dampen you or tone you down—a really hooky pop song and with fun stuff in there but also a sad song. It was really important to have different energies and different feelings on the album.” “Phantom Pain” “Generally on this record, we’re operating with a lot of craziness. And similarly to ‘DOING IT AGAIN BABY,’ this is the crazy version of feeling good, the crazy version of being into someone and being smitten. This is about when I met my girlfriend three years ago, but before we called each other girlfriends, we were dating, just not officially. It turned out she wasn’t really free to date, so she cut me off the day after we had met and we were making out. The song is about the heartbreak I had that week, because I was so heartbroken and I didn’t even know her. It’s hilarious because it’s impossible to have heartbreak for someone that you don’t love yet—you don’t know them. So I thought it was fun to play with phantom pains—it’s like you have pains from somewhere in your body that doesn’t exist anymore but it’s heartache phantom pain.” “You Need Me Now?” (with Sabrina Carpenter) “It’s not linked to my girlfriend and I actually ending up together, but it’s a song about a person taking you for granted for a very long time and then dumping you, and then basically coming back when they realized, ‘Holy shit, wait, actually maybe this wasn’t that bad.’ A lot of people tend to think the grass is greener on the other side, but I saw this Facebook post from some old lady saying, ‘No, the grass is greener where you water it.’ I think there’s some truth in that. This song is also about standing up for myself and saying, ‘No, I won’t have your bullshit anymore and I’m not going to let you come back and walk in like nothing ever happened because you ruined me.’ It’s got an empowering vibe to it. [It’s] even more fun with Sabrina because, even though she’s singing from the me perspective, she’s also the friend that really agrees with you, like, ‘No, they’re bad for you. Don’t take them back.’” “A Night to Remember” “This is about the night I met my girlfriend. It’s basically a track that goes through the whole night. It starts with being smitten by just seeing her, being into her, then going through the different parties we went to. People were doing drugs, people were drinking, it was insane, it was like a night in the movies. The song builds up into this big indie electronic moment and it sounds like a lot of love is in the air. The music sounds like love. It’s attraction and sexual chemistry—all those things are going on—and then it goes into this really fun dance sing-along.” “Pick Me” “This is about jealousy and insecurity because my girlfriend is bisexual and there was a time—I have my reasons—where I was very jealous of this one guy. I was also very jealous of guys in general. I realized that I was really insecure in my relationship because I was constantly scared that she was going to leave me. I was confronted with a lot of my insecurities and I had to put them somewhere. I put them into this song. Even though my girlfriend has reassured me so many times, it still somehow just goes into my left ear and out of my right ear. It’s been impossible to even make me feel safe but I know it’s all in my head and it’s not on my girlfriend. I know it’s my problems. By the way, to anyone reading, we’re doing so much better now! I’ve learned to communicate, which is the most important thing because no one’s a mind reader, especially not when it comes to stuff like this.” “Ugly Side” “‘Ugly Side’ is reflecting after exposing myself when I feel [the way] I do in ‘Pick Me.’ It’s talking about those negative qualities, acknowledging that I’m not perfect and that I have ugly sides. It’s a funny play on ‘Oh, no, don’t take my picture on this side, my ugly side.’ This song is talking about ‘Why do I get so angry sometimes? Why do I lose my shit? Why am I so imperfect?’ It’s consciously debating why I have these shifting sides. It’s just a little self-reflection song.” “New Love” “This is about heartbreak and struggling to see someone that you’ve really loved moving on. It’s about wanting and longing for that person and knowing that they’re never going to want you again—and that a lot of heartbreak comes with that. I definitely was struggling with some heartbreak for a very long time, and then this song is, ‘I think it’s the end of that era, I hope. I think this might be the last song I write about this thing.’ It felt like closure to some old stuff.” “★★★★★” “I call this song ‘The Factory,’ people can reference it as ‘The Factory’ or just ‘Five Stars.’ It’s basically the overarching themes that I was going through making the album. I had so much doubt but then I was able to come out of it and be like, ‘No, this album is fucking amazing. This is the best shit I’ve ever done.’ This is just a fun little weird song about making songs at the factory. And are they hits? Are they five-star songs? Are they the top-notch songs that I really believe they are or am I being delusional? Because you have to be delusional. This song is about artistic doubt. That’s the best way I can put it. Also, I’m using the percussion from what I think will be the opener on album three, so I was like, ‘It’s a fun little nugget for people to hear this beat now.’ When album three comes out, they’ll be like, ‘Whoa, that’s the same beat!’”

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada