Friday, December 20th, 2019

GIRLI – Up & Down

Caderyn brings us some bubblegum punk…


Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Top 10 lines from “Up & Down” which make it the most relatable, heartwarming, emotionally cathartic, hilarious song the year: 1) “I’m a fat giraffe who likes pea soup.” Iconic, absurd, perfect opening line. 2)I’m the best thing you’ve ever seen, a karaoke teenage dream.” GIRLI understands that being a geek about pop music means comparing your emotional highs to Katy Perry songs. 3) “My life is going pretty bad.” The first time I heard this, I laughed so hard because I was going through a rough point in my life — and I’ve laughed every time since. 4) “I think about the future way too much and yes, it drives me mad.” 2019 and an entire decade are coming to a close! Here’s a line to perfectly encapsulate the simultaneous feelings of boundless possibility and cosmic doom you might be feeling! 5) “I don’t wanna lose my mind, so I’ll just pretend I’m fine.” Americans, let’s get universal public health insurance in 2020 so this doesn’t have to be mental health coverage for people without adequate health insurance! 6) “You should like it if you want me around.” Was this ripped from GIRLI’s diary? This is an exact thought I’ve had when going through periodic phases where I think everyone secretly hates me but is too nice to say it. 7) “Ask me how I been, I’ve been lots of ways, who am I today?” Being a twenty-something feels like having daily existential crises about who you are and who want to be. 8) “My world is on fire.” The world is on fire. 9) “I can’t go to sleep but I’m tired.” For several months this year I could never get sleep because of my living situation. My sleep deprivation eventually got to the point where I was so irritable all the time that even just looking at normal people would piss me off — and this line just understood me. 10) “I get up, I get down, I get UuUuUuPpPpPp…. and I get down.” Ending a song about emotional rollercoasters amid ruckus, thumping beats, emphasising how she also dances through all the turbulence… the final chorus blasts into the stratosphere. I can’t think of anything that better epitomises the essence of pop.

Alfred Soto: No “& Down” required — up up up, it goes. It’s not often I get to say, “This song makes me think I can do anything.” GIRLI’s quasi-anthem does it without using its intensity as a bludgeon.

Ian Mathers: “Can’t go to sleep but I’m tired / too much ammunition to fire” – the pop-punk/boshing bits are better than the other bits, but too much of this hit too close to home for me to do anything but nod sadly in recognition and acknowledge that I am in fact in this picture and I do not like it.

Kylo Nocom: GIRLI’s fantastic Odd One Out strikes me as the bubbly punk of Helen Love updated with Teenage Dream gloss, an immensely likable portrayal of 2000s/2010s pop more faithful than her contemporaries’ attempts at the form. “Up & Down” re-imagines “Hot N Cold” as Gen-Z self-deprecation. It’s not a pretty sight, bucket-loads of distilled camp delivered line after line, but being easy to swallow isn’t the point. GIRLI understands that being a lot to handle doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be handled at all. Though the dynamic of the verses-as-venting and the hook’s stadium-stomp is jarring, it all feels right once the hugest bridge of the year comes in: a cry for help, delivered as loud as possible from a remote island below.

Edward Okulicz: My initial reaction to this song was to love it, and my second was that it was dinky, annoying, embarrassing and generally awful. I haven’t quite come back to that first position, but my appreciation set a bit more once I realised it was like an English pantomime version of Courtney Barnett’s “Pedestrian at Best.” “I can’t fall asleep but I’m tired” is the story of my life, your life and 2019 in general, and that particular part is the pinnacle of the song, willing itself to life while reflecting the exhaustion of struggling to find equilibrium. I can’t quite love it because the chorus’s mania feels a bit perfunctory, but I appreciate it plenty.

Will Adams: When I manage to push away the thought that it’s basically a much better-written version of “Sweet But Psycho,” this is above-average power pop. The contrast between the verse — anxious word dump darting from reference to reference — and chorus — plainspoken, wall-of-sound roar — is nice, but after that’s established the song doesn’t seem to know where to go next.

Oliver Maier: Alternates between the sort of self-effacing novelty pop that blows up on YouTube and ends up on Live at the Apollo, and a chorus not even close to catchy or cathartic enough to justify the whole thing.

Isabel Cole: As a person with a strong aversion to female comedy centered on self-deprecation, I had a knee-jerk resistance to a song which announces itself with the narrator identifying as a fat giraffe, but was thawed by the specificity of “you only think I’m funny ‘cuz you’re high as fuck on mushrooms.” I still feel like this shouldn’t work: unmusically singing a single note over acoustic guitar feels like an unwelcome holdover from early aughts musical comedy, and  perhaps unsurprisingly the glitter-text inspiration of the ups (“I’m a karaoke teenage dream”) doesn’t match the wit of the downs (I love “my life is going pretty bad” — it’s the way she says it). A peppy jam about mental health seems like a concept that can’t help but come out unearned. And yet! There’s an appealingly propulsive melody in the chorus, and a great synth line that took me by surprise later on, and a real likability in the plainspokenness of the delivery, and, I don’t know, man, it’s been a long year and the world is on fire and I do get up and I do get down. 

Reader average: [7] (2 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

One Response to “GIRLI – Up & Down”

  1. zero energy/mood/bovis to blurb this but would have given at lest a 7