Gen Z superstar Girl In Red has lived and learned between albums, and I’m Doing It Again Baby! gleams with new perspectives

Marie Ulven aka Girl in Red is back with her second album, and she might not need Taylor Swift's backing to play stadiums next time out

I'm Doing It Again Baby
(Image: © Columbia / Blood Records)

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From SoundCloud hits to performing in stadiums across the world with Taylor Swift, Marie Ulven aka Girl in Red has captured the attention with her alt-pop musings on sexuality and mental health. So viral was her cultural impact - her most-streamed track on Spotify, We Fell In Love in October has been played 987,283,863 times at the time of writing - her moniker became a discreet code for queer identity on social media before she had even released her debut album, if I could make it go quiet. Three years on, she’s doing it again, baby, with her second album and a new outlook on life.

Like on her debut, I’m Doing It Again Baby! is heavily influenced by Ulven’s mental health struggles. Soft opener I’m Back is a delicate mental health update for her listeners as she shares, “I’m back, I feel like myself. I was gone for a minute ‘cause I went to get help.” The 'it gets better' message often comes across as clichéd and patronising, but somehow it feels more believable coming from Girl In Red. Her message of hope comes directly from her own experiences of healing and taking the time and space to recover.

Ulven’s strength is in her simplistic but consistently relatable lyrics. Too Much, the album's first single, speaks intimately of her experiences of feeling pressure to hide her complete and authentic self for fear of scaring others away. As we move through the track, the once polished, straight-laced sound slowly yields to moments of noise and chaos as we embrace Girl In Red’s rougher edges. Pick Me is an almost painful listen, with cutting observations like “I’m always waiting for you to say my insecurities drive you away” and “There’s no amount of validation that would make this go away” that stick like a knife to the chest.

Compared to if I could make it go quiet, Girl In Red’s second album leans further into the pop side of her work, but I’m Doing It Again Baby! is not without its heavier moments. The intersection between pop and rock where Girl In Red has set up camp is most evident in You Need Me Now? her collaboration with rising pop royalty Sabrina Carpenter. It doesn’t quite take off as intended, parts of the song feel a bit like a gimmick, and Carpenter’s contributions somewhat overshadow Girl In Red, but it's a sign of Ulven’s ambition.

DOING IT AGAIN, BABY is a high-energy indie anthem brimming with the confidence of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Last Dinner Party. It’s the moment on the album when Ulven really lets herself run wild. Other moments, such as Phantom Pain and Too Much at first appear to be traditional, ordinary pop numbers before letting the chaotic side peek through. New Love is the indie anthem of the album, with unassuming verses leading into unruly choruses.

While there are less memorable moments like the more restrained A Night To Remember and Ugly Side, the closing moments of the album remind us why we love the weird and wonderful world of Girl in Red. ★★★★★’ invites us into the bizarre world that is the music industry, littered with ‘60s references to the Chelsea Hotel and The Factory in homage to the rule breakers who came before her. Girl In Red has lived and learned between albums, and I’m Doing It Again Baby! gleams with this new perspective. 

Freelance writer, Louder

In addition to contributing to Louder, Vicky writes for The Line of Best Fit, Gigwise, New Noise Magazine and more.