Pink-worshipping, pop-fanatic feminists who spend all their time either on instagram or raving in each other’s bedrooms have a new divine ruler – her name, is Girli.
18-year-old Milly Toomey is a force of nature. At 13 she was a member of Youth Parliament for Camden council, speaking out against sexual harassment and trying to get her voice heard amongst classmates and politicians alike. At 15 she realised that no one was listening, thus she turned to pop music and within a year, Girli was born. An all-pink, pop-princess, shouting about periods, getting fucked at parties, how the internet is ruining our lives and asserting some serious femme dominance. And guess what? People are listening now.
Girli has just released her third EP Hot Mess. Four songs that visit the adventures of being a non-heterosexual teenage girl in the music industry, who just wants to have fun with her friends but suffers from being a victim of instagram-triggered existential crisis just like the rest of us.
An all-pink, pop-princess
Title track ‘Hot Mess’ is a fun fast-paced anthem with an aggressively authoritative bass line. The song perfectly showcases Girli’s prowess as a rapper (think more Lady Sovereign than Missy Elliott), where she sarcastically mocks the entitlement of men who feel it is their place to mansplain and comment on your appearance without asking.
“Then you explain how you studied this at Uni so you’d know / More than me about the thing that paid for my phone / Why don’t you make it a hat trick and comment on my look / Like a bit outlandish, love, but you know, don’t judge a book”
She holds no prisoners throughout the track, attacking all haters of her scruffy jeans or dyed pink hair and those who doubt her success. The chorus hears several Girlis chanting “HOT MESS”, which is appropriately matched by the music video which features Girli surrounded by her girl gang all dressed as her with pink hair and skateboards. This young pop star is forming an army, beware.
‘Mr 10PM Bedtime’ is the second single from the EP. It’s a heavily nostalgic, uplifting song inspired by her neighbour knocking on her door night after night to complain about her frequent parties. An attempt to jolt the memory of those who now deem themselves too old to get drunk and pass out on their bedroom floor, and inspire them to at least cut a little slack to those still regularly engaging in such activities, if not join in and revisit their youth. ‘Can I Say Baby’ is a little funkier, laced with 80s influences it bops around a dysfunctional relationship with an older woman. Girli’s singing voice does not boast vocal gymnastics or a hair-raising range, but with her lyrics and carefully experimental production, that really doesn’t matter.
This young pop star is forming an army, beware
For me the highlight of the EP is ‘Neck Contour’, a song so relatable to the millennial internet generation of today, that I wouldn’t be surprised if Girli-worshipping cults started springing up across social media – in fact I can’t say for sure that they haven’t already…I might start one myself. The song rises out of a muffled bass that sounds exactly like you’re listening to it through the wall you share with next door’s flat. It bubbles into a rhythmic verse about the constant quest for an identity that gains you the approval of others. The production on this song is so tight. It builds and builds into an irresistible pop bop with an unavoidably sad edge. “Invite you back to my instagram life, want the real one? Take a hike. It’s caged up here right inside my mind, and it’s not coming out for a while” / “One day I’ll be talking on TED, about how my youth was dead and I hated myself, I should have loved me instead.”
Girli squeezes reams of intelligent, relatable lyrics into bubblegum melodies with PC-music-esque production. Hot Mess is unique, as is Girli. There really is no one else doing what Girli does, and that’s exactly why she’s so important to pop music right now. So don your pink tracksuit, and go listen to ‘Neck Contour’ and pretend you’re not leading a double life teetering between cyber-world and reality.