The internet has decided that the phrase “I listen to girl in red” signals that someone is queer, or LGBTQIA+. Girl in red is a queer artist who writes love songs and happens to be gay. Girl in red, Marie Ulven, debuted on SoundCloud with “i wanna be your girlfriend,” a song about unrequited love for a straight girl. This past April, she released her debut album, entitled if i could make it go quiet with 11 songs about queer love, depression and heartache. As an artist, Ulven embraces her sexuality, normalizes her queerness and focuses her listeners on her storytelling.
“Serotonin,” which is the first song on the album, discusses intrusive thoughts and Ulven’s battle with depression. The song introduces listeners to a few key themes throughout the album: destructive thoughts, a separation between her mentality and actions and, most importantly, Ulven’s self-awareness. Girl in red also gives us a glimpse into the bliss of Ulven’s romances; “I’ll Call You Mine” follows her through a relationship in the honeymoon stage, in which she anxiously anticipates its end. She touches on the vulnerability of young love and the insecurity that resides after heartbreaks. However, in the chorus, listeners can feel the warmth of the sunlight and the infatuation that comes with new beginnings. Throughout the album, Ulven gives her perspective on rejection and the power we all have to hurt the ones we love. As a lyricist, Ulven creates songs that unravel like a story. She captures an unfiltered and unforgiving human experience which can resonate with listeners that have been wronged or have done wrongdoing. Her writing is beautifully composed of vivid imagery and is occasionally accompanied by a tasteful swear.
Ulven’s inclusion of societal taboos such as sex, vulgar language and queerness in her music is not meant to be a revolutionary statement; rather, it is Ulven’s unabashed retelling of her evolving sense of self and desire to be loved. This album is best listened to while dancing in your bedroom, shouting in an endless field or falling in and out of love. If i could make it go quiet transcends normal storytelling and aims straight for the heart. I highly encourage anyone who hasn’t listened to girl in red to start (queer or not).
By Angelina Morin, Contributing Writer