The debut LP from the English-German performer begins with a battle cry: “I wanna learn how to live without the consequences,” which could be an autobiographical reference to her struggles to make this album in the first place, seeking to do so on her own terms and not overthink the process. Merton earned a degree in the business she’s been trying to break into, even starting her own label, Paper Plane Records. But her riff-based pop never comes across as overly studied; it’s a hybrid of ’80s guitar wails, slow disco beats, and ruthless rock vocals. From the playfulness of “Funny Business” to the earworm funk of “Why So Serious,” this is a display of agency, attitude, and sensitivity.

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