The Perks Of Being Girl In Red

girl in red perks of being a wallflower

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Indie pop queen girl in red is doing it again, baby and she’s doing it better than ever.

In 2018, girl in red made sapphic gems for sad simps with tracks like i wanna be your girlfriend and we fell in love in october catching the attention of every chronically online lesbian with a tote bag. In 2021, she released her debut album, if i could make it go quiet

Personally, I never thought I’d hear someone sing the words “I’m running low on serotonin / chemical imbalance got me twisting things / stabilise with medicine” or “I get intrusive thoughts like cutting my hands off, like / jumping in front of a bus, like / how do I make it stop?”. But I’m glad that I did. 

At the time, Billie Eilish said that the lyrics to Serotonin were “bonkers” and she was right. There’s something incredibly ballsy about giving voice to the intrusive thoughts that are often suppressed by weighty shame.

In a manic frolic through a field of gigantic daisies and an enviable tunnel drive with a wind-machine working overtime, I spoke to everyone’s favourite “sad girl” faces towards the sun ahead of her first show on the DOING IT AGAIN! tour.

“I think that I’m finding happiness,” she says. “I think that’s kind of what ‘I’m Back’ reflects on, is that I’ve found a way to be happy but also I still struggle. I have a tendency to lean towards sadness. And it’s very…” 

She fumbles, finding her words for a moment, then adds, “The way from being happy to being sad is always very short for me.”

Like girl in red, we’ve all dreamed of living our Perks of Being a Wallflower fantasy, where the wind whips your skin and in that moment, that one song makes you feel infinite. It’s a rite of passage to yearn tirelessly for that pivotal moment in a coming-of-age film where the main character tosses their head back laughing, like everything’s gonna be okay. But something you don’t always learn until the sequel: the human experience can’t be wrapped in a 90-minute bow. 

“The visuals for ‘I’m Back’, I feel like the video also shows how I can quickly go from the imaginary field of daisies to then being somewhere dark and being confused,” she says.

While girl in red seems to be quietly pleased with the balance she’s achieving, she’s found herself reading comment threads about how her new album I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY! feels like a different girl in red.

“I’ve seen some stuff on Reddit with people being like, ‘who the fuck is girl in red? This is not what I got into when I started listening to her in 2019. If it continues to be like this, I will not continue to follow her career.’ That shit really gets to me. And it’s definitely scary putting something into the world like that,” she says.

In her Miss Americana documentary, Taylor Swift talks about taking risks knowing that someone, somewhere is going to have a problem regardless. With a Barbie–adjacent monologue, she mocks the critics: “Reinvent yourself but only in a way that we find to be equally comforting and a challenge for you. If girl in red is a daisy, she’s allowed to grow.

“Sonically, [the albums] might be a little bit different but they still feel very intertwined in a way,” she says. “It feels like they are on the same journey, if that makes sense. And now that feels a little bit more completed. I feel like the next thing I’m going to do is even more different than what I’ve done now. It might be like a really fucking sad thing.”

On her 10-track sophomore album, girl in red gives us her first ever collab: ‘You Need Me Now?’ featuring Sabrina Carpenter. Funnily enough, she doesn’t need a feature on this song — it’s bold and exciting, with unexpected and wordy melodies. When we reach the bridge, a campy voice note suggests to those in the writers room that “getting Sabrina on this” would be “really fucking cool”. Sabrina matches the spoken-word energy in a brief but iconic call-and-response, before lending her vocals to the rest of the track.

“I was working on it for probably a year,” girl in red says. “I wanted something else because I just didn’t want it to be another chorus with me, so I randomly improvised this bridge in a very jokey, ironic way and then I sent that to Sabrina . She listened to it and thought it was really funny with the fourth wall being broken. She’s a really great lyricist and singer, so we just knocked it out of the ballpark. Which I like saying recently, I like saying ‘ballpark’.”

There’s a wave of unseriousness washing over the music industry at the moment that is incredibly refreshing and exciting. Sabrina Carpenter’s ‘Nonsense’ and ‘Espresso’ are pivotal to the movement, as are Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘love is embarrassing’ and ‘all-american bitch’, Chappell Roan’s ‘Femininomenon’, Peach PRC’s ‘Like A Girl Does’ and Reneé Rapp’s ‘Poison Poison’. 

“It’s very, like, careless music,” girl in red says. “Like, not being so overly concerned about it not sounding smart, and just kind of not giving a fuck. Just writing a silly lyric on purpose… it creates a fun, goofy mood. I feel like Sabrina has a little bit of that, like, let’s have some fun with music. I’ve recently discovered Chappell Roan, and I cannot believe that I’ve been living under a rock for so long. She is fucking insane, and I really love her music now. She has that sort of carelessness and kind of like, I don’t give a fuck vibe. She’s a real fucking rock star and a pop star, and she has like the coolest fucking energy. I want to collab with her for sure.”

This new era of girl in red is different. She’s messy, she’s fun, she’s unserious, she’s theatrical, she’s doing a collab with Sabrina Carpenter, she’s lookin’ like a rockstar from the 70s, she’s just delusional enough to be in the biz.

She’s accepted the love she thinks she deserves, but now girl in red is making room for more.

girl in red’s new album I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY! is out now. You can find tickets for her Doing It Again Asia/Oceania Tour 2024 here.


Written by Talecia Vescio, your local Aquarius. Find her on Instagram as @taleciavescio if you wanna be friends.