Heart-wrenching honesty for the TikTok generation
Laura Molloy
15:46 19th October 2021

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GIRLI is stronger now. That’s the sense on Damsel In Distress, each of its tracks venting a personal battle the London-born singer is valiantly fighting through. In her follow up to Ex Talk, GIRLI is unafraid to over-share, immersing the listener in brutal truths about body dysmorphia, unrequited love and toxic relationships. It’s a filter-free glimpse into her brain that puts a mirror up to your own insecurities and says 'me too'. 

Rich in electronic texture, opening track ‘More Than A Friend’ is an immediate plunge into GIRLI’s current state of mind. Over synthetic arrangements, she articulates the complexities of unrequited queer love, yearning for more from a crush who’s sexuality she can’t determine.

‘Ricochet’ is a similar commentary on modern love, painting a portrait of a dysfunctional relationship that is as frustrating as it is alluring. The electro-pop soundscape and shifting vocal styles mirror the chaos of life at the hands of a lover who “only wants to touch me after liquor and a mixer”. ‘Ruthless’ details further toxicity, criticising a partner with the power to fundamentally alter the very core of her personality.

Newly an independent artist, GIRLI is at her most vulnerable throughout Damsel In Distress. She admits self-hatred on ‘Dysmorphia’ and ‘I Don’t Like Myself’ — an internal monologue littered with heart wrenching confessions of an insecurity that infiltrates every waking moment. No longer revelling in youth on the dancefloor, we’re with GIRLI beneath the gritty yellow light of the bathroom, gazing in the mirror and over-analysing each feature as she delivers an overwhelming yet simple sentiment: “I just want to like myself”.

Never one to shy from excess, Damsel In Distress is dripping in heartbreak-enhancing autotune and computer generated drum beats that punctuate some of her most honest and revealing lyricism to date. We’re immersed in her world that despite fun, polished beats, is dark and difficult to bear, akin to the era of its creation. Though dulling the sparkle and optimism of her debut, there remains a deep layer of hope, given the imagery of GIRLI continuing to fight despite the sheer number of aggregators. 

Re-defining what it means to be a Damsel In Distress, GIRLI isn’t waiting to be rescued. She’s battling her demons head on. And, unlike the trope from which the EP is named, GIRLI emerges victorious, more sure of who she is alone.

Damsel In Distress EP arrives 22 October.

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Photo: Press