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girli shows a softer side on latest EP why am i like this??

"why am i like this??"

Release date: 12 May 2023
Girli - why am i like this?? - Album Artwork
10 May 2023, 10:30 Written by Caitlin Chatterton

The four-track project offers a compact tasting menu of girli’s matured, smoothed-over sound.

Despite already having a debut album (2019’s Odd One Out) under her belt, North London’s Amelia Toomey – the 24-year-old behind girli – probably hit most people’s playlists in 2021, with the release of her Damsel in Distress EP. Complete with Cyberdog-esque styling and her name-making, angst-driven banger “More Than a Friend,” the record set girli up as a self-deprecating but highly polished rising star in queer pop. Unexpectedly, her budding fan base then found themselves starved of any new releases for nearly a full year, though for girli the hiatus allowed time for her to accept the multitudes of her personality: “I’m messy, but I’m also soft, and disruptive, but I’m healed. It’s taken me time to realise [I’m] so many things at once”.

Showing off a bleach blonde (but still tinged with pink) new look, girli first began to lay the groundwork for her why am i like this?? EP in September 2022. “I Really F**ked It Up” continues the bouncing, ‘hold no punches’ energy of Damsel in Distress, as girli flails with the panicked realisation she’s crossed a line. It was followed in February by the release of “Imposter Syndrome;” the beating heart drumline anchors the track, while paranoid lyrics about her public perception are offset by an infectious pop melody.

The EP’s third single, “Cheap Love,” is a recall to teenage relationships: drinking booze with the tag still on, bumping train fares, and giddily falling head-over-heels for each other. Like “Imposter Syndrome,” “Cheap Love” is softer round the edges than girli’s earlier music – while the starkly honest lyricism has survived, these singles have confirmed her new, more bubblegum than biting, flavour of pop. “Inner Child,” the EP’s final instalment, follows suit. The mellow track sees girli venting her frustrations over an emotionally draining partner without raising her voice; still, the swaying chorus has the potential to become something of an anthem among fans.

Given the length of this record, it’s perhaps best described as a teaser trailer for girli’s next era, signposting a change in tack from her sword-wielding Damsel in Distress days. 2023’s girli is gentler, more self-aware, and her music is clearly changing with her.

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