Sad Girls And Boys: The Mayfly Of Pop
There is a genre of music that I always give the benefit of the doubt to. Call it lo fi bedroom pop, call it sad girls and boys, whatever it might be called, it has teens and early twenties American kids holed up in their bedroom with their acoustic guitars and their Pro Tools pouring out their hearts and, here comes the kicker, some of the strongest and sweetest tunes around. Much better than, say Justin Vernon, or Bruce Hornsby, or John Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen. I mean, much better than Americana.
The difference between Americana and sad song lo fi is the difference between a toxic, adult arrogance, and a slow dawning of how life functions. Americana is Bon Iver -they have the possibility of genius but it is a closed off genius that forces you to meet it, and like the last National album, isn’t worth the effort. Compare this to renforshort, beabadoobee, Powfu: there are a lot of them, and it is the difference between the real and the feigned, between business and self-realization. renforshort’s EP is called Teenage Angst
Recently, Gracie Abrams has been making a splash. Gracie is Hollywood royalty (her father is JJ Abrams) but her insecurities are universal. Americana is too into itself, Margo Price is too about the music, remforshort is like punk in 1976: it is coming out of nowhere and is beholden to itself.
Nothing kills music faster or more thoroughly than self-importance and that’s why so much Americana is dead on arrival, it keeps patting itself on the back. Sad Girls is nearly about self-awareness but it isn’t quite there, and it is a mayfly of sound: renforshort is already signed to Interscope, and not only is its lifespan very short, it is also like light, it changes direction upon being observed, you lose what you had when you gain what you want.
But if you can catch it at just the right moment, it makes most pop music sound like posing.