Girli’s Hot Mess EP is an uber-femme Arcade Game
Written by Molly Alexander
Few know of 19 year old Milly Toomey, but now with her recent EP listener’s will recognize her as the UK’s princess of pop, Girli. Despite her uber-feminine bubblegum hair and energetic ensembles, her music style radiates an uber-femme glow. With her recent album, Hot Mess EP, listeners get a refined collection of both relevant lyrics and dance inducing beats. Within four brief tracks, Girli motivates the listener to both get up and dance and maybe attend a women’s march. For those unfamiliar with Girli, think the powerful lyrics and vocal tones of MIA trapped inside a Space Invaders game.
“Hot Mess” hooks the listener in with an infectious chorus, “They say I'm a hot mess”, bouncing between Girli’s rhythmic vocals and a repetitive bass track. She aims her mockingly conversational vocals towards men, shooting down those who assert dominance over women’s appearances and behaviors with the lines“ I don't care what they say/Cause I know what I'm doing.” It potently serves as a musical middle finger, flipping off gender standards and confines.
This track is followed by “Mr 10 pm Bedtime”. Despite its peculiar title this song is anything but that. She sings about how youth is a time for figuring things out; a temporary period of exuberance that fades into adulthood. She parallels this with the story of her constantly complaining neighbor who is continually annoyed by the noise his younger neighbors make. While Girli and her friends parties are interrupted by the old man, they take time to ask “don't tell me you're too old/ To have a little bit of fun sometimes.” She continously sings “Don’t you remember?” as the old man is void of his once youthful energy, lacking any strains of sympathy. Although her lyrics speak of 21st century struggles, a burst of refreshing chime tones transport the listener into an 80s teen rom com.
The most emotional track on the EP, “Neck Contour”, covers the pressure of social media and the self doubt brought on by the media’s perception of human perfection. While she wants “...to be that girl who's never scared” and to “to have skinny hips and perfect hair” she covers up her worries by saying that things are “fine” when in reality it remains bottled up. Lower and monotone spoken word pieces are framed by electric drums as she sings “I hated myself, I should've loved me instead”. This track faintly paints the grey area that lies between wanting to conform to beauty standards or finding love and beauty within oneself.Aside from her traditional quirk, this track exudes more pain and emotion filled vocals.
The EP comes to an energetic close with “Can I Say Baby?”. While the electronic beats overthrow the regality of Girli’s lyrics, it traps the listener in the same Arcade game.
While Hot Mess EP would fit best in a club in the fictional city of San Junipero, its lyrics and musical aura have the power to draw in listeners living in the modern world.