I'm Doing It Again Baby! by girl in red album review by Sam Franzini for Northern Transmissions



girl in red

Taylor Swift-minted indie pop icon girl in red, also known as Maire Ulven knows exactly how she feels. Through her second album, I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY!, listeners get a deep understanding of her mind — the ups and downs of heartbreak, personal healing, and growth. Across all this, and most importantly, it’s a very fun album.

The album opens with “I’m Back”, a Disney-swaying piano ballad that could quickly lose steam after a while, but her voice carries through. She details her absence through the previous years, where she mentions that she “went to get help,” possibly through rehab or therapy. But as the title suggests, she feels better than ever — “I’m in the field of daisies and life feels amazing.” This sentiment continues on the next track, which has a buoyancy across its frenetic, country instrumental. Even if the lyrics are on the nose (“I’m on a new level, something’s got me feeling so good”), you can’t help but feel happy for her.

It’s one of a few tracks that feel jubilant, alive. When “Too Much” gets to its electric bridge, admonishing an ex for their behavior; the outro of “Phantom Pain,” when her desperation becomes unabashed (even if it doesn’t sound so immediately pleasant in the moment), and Sabrina Carpenter’s guest spot on the playful pop rock cut “You Need Me Now?” (and her banter with Ulven). “New Love,” too, where the object of her affection moves on and finds another person, ends with an admission: “You break and bend my heart because you can.”

But I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY!’s real Achilles heel is its writing — despite her debut, if i could make it go quiet, being released three years ago, this record is unignorably clunky. A side effect of telling everyone exactly what you mean is that there’s little to no nuance to uncover. She’s feeling good on the first two tracks (“My energy’s through the roof”), turning her back on “You Need Me Now?” (“I’m tired of waiting around, letting you let me down”), undergoing pseudo-therapy self-examination on “Ugly Side” (“I am the worst of me sometimes, I need to know why,” she sings in a clumsy “Anti-Hero” impression, before plugging a podcast.) With a new era of strong singer-songwriters recognizable for their lyricism, girl in red is decidedly, not that.

Thankfully just under 30 minutes, I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY! doesn’t overstay its welcome — a quick adrenaline rush matching girl in red’s newfound energy. It’s not a knockout, and some of its slower songs bog it down with sappy spots, but holds its worth as an album that was clearly a pleasure to make.

Pre-order I’m Doing It Again Baby! by girl in red HERE


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