As I’m sure you don’t need reminding, 2020 was a tumultuous time for us all, but especially so for London musician Millie Toomey, better known as GIRLI. Having released her debut album Odd One Out and promptly being dropped by her label in 2019, 2020 was meant to be a year to rebuild and come back stronger than ever.
Sure enough, recent singles ‘Has Been’ and ‘Letter to my Ex’, as well as a feature on Rizha’s ‘Live The Weekend’, show that against all the odds, that comeback is well under way. Now, kicking off the new year in style, comes ‘Passive Aggressive’, a massive middle finger to all the status seekers and fake friends.
It’s clear from the outset that fans of Odd One Out are going to have to be flexible with their tastes to keep up with this new era. Free of record label demands, Girli has shifted from squeaky clean pop tinged with a hint of bite, to a darker, more sinister sound. The instinctive pop composition is still there, with hooks catchier than Casillas, but tonally it’s more Grimes than Carly Rae Jepsen. There’s smothering bass aplenty, smeared on thick over basic and trashy beats, building a vibe that’s deliciously dark. This atmosphere is the strongest point of the whole track, it’s so menacing while still making you want to get up and dance, a balance that has to be hard to get this right.
While catchy, this song isn’t really a lyrical masterpiece, somewhat lacking compared to what I came to expect from Odd One Out. Given the vibe-focused nature of the track, that doesn’t feel like too much of a major issue, but it’s still a shame. The pre-choruses are my highlights, flowing freely and seemingly more emotively than the rest. Certainly, the lyrics are far from bad, they just struggle to progress much beyond the notion of a hook.
I say a word
And then she says the same
But the echoes they change
When they go down the chainGIRLI – ‘PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE’
With such strong strides into her new era and greater freedom, I’m excited to see how far Girli continues to push in this new direction. It’s a far cry from the snappy, irreverent early singles such as ‘Hot Mess’, and while a return would be fun, this exploration feels more personally determined, and more aware of the harsh realities of the industry she resides within.
‘Passive Aggressive’ is available now to stream everywhere.