REVIEW: Phoebe Green’s “I Can’t Cry For You” is Edgy Fun
Before I get into it, can we just admire how cool Phoebe Green is? Her short, curly blood orange mop and eclectic style (and I do mean eclectic; in the video for “Grit” alone she alternately wears a too-big suit with chains and a floral blouse with pearls) make her stick out from the rest of the more polished indie pop crowd. However, with the ever-ambiguous “alt” label being so in right now, it can be hard to find artists that truly match their music to their look. Seeing a cool-looking artist pop up on my Twitter feed is great because I love to see hot people in general, but I often check out their music and find that what they make is just radio-friendly schlock with an edgy label slapped on the cover. Phoebe Green is the answer to my disappointment. She truly walks the walk. Though I have some small complaints, I Can’t Cry For You is a unique EP for those of us looking for a darker indie pop experience.
As is the case with many an EP, the first track is the best track. “Reinvent” contains self-deprecating melancholy and hazy synths; one of the best combos known to pop music. It’s irresistibly sorry for itself, reminiscent of messy nights out with breakdown endings. The concept of reinvention is in itself dramatic, often born as it is from negative self image and bad life experiences. Green is somehow able to capture all of this in a single song while never straying from being brutally honest with her audience with lyrics like, “I often feel sickened by the prospect of flirtation / But how else am I meant to gain immediate validation / I'd like to think I'm funny but I'm far too fucked to tell / I've had to repeat my name three times but I think it's going well.” We’ve all been there, Phoebe.
Of the two non-singles, “Grit” is the strongest. Dark and brooding, with haunting verses, it tells the story of an all-consuming romance. Green leaves it a bit ambiguous; is this a crush, a new girlfriend, or something in between? No matter the seriousness of the relationship, it’s clear that Phoebe is obsessed with this girl and can’t get her off of her mind, but there’s a creepy undertone to the whole affair, almost like Phoebe might be stalking her. It’s unsettling, but it’s a great tune with some very sick synths on the back end, so who am I to judge?
“Golden Girl” was the second single before the release of the EP, but it’s probably the least engaging track of the project. It does have an enjoyable 60’s rock vibe with some yé-yé flavor, but there’s something a bit flat about it in comparison to the bold personality of the other songs. Especially in comparison to closer “A World I Forgot,” a glitchy hyperpop-esque track with airy (for Phoebe) vocals, it doesn’t feel nearly as unique or fun.
That being said, there isn’t a bad track on I Can’t Cry For You. It serves as a solid primer for things to come from Phoebe Green and I, at least, have listened to it more times than I can count on one hand since it came out.