- David Bentley
Girl in Red – Midnight Love (Single)
I caught Norway’s Girl in Red (Marie Ringheim) at Iceland Airwaves last November. She has made a big impression these last two years but on the night I was underwhelmed. I would categorise many of her songs as ‘pop-punk’ and she specialises in songs written in her bedroom studio which link queer issues with mental health. She’s already, at 21, regarded as a queer icon and has huge streaming credentials, in the hundreds of millions. It would also be true to say that she has been, and continues to be, massively hyped.
She’s very active physically when performing live and, when she isn’t singing, she’s talking away like an excited 14-year old with a new ‘phone and about the same subjects. She doesn’t so much know how to get a young audience onside as does it instinctively.
So I was expecting much of the same from her latest single but was pleasantly surprised. In the song she laments being only the ‘second best’ to a lover who prefers someone else but who is quick to come running to her at midnight when that other relationship turns sour. Hardly a novel idea but well performed in a standard pop fashion and with a tune that sticks in the memory. Unlike some other gushing songs written by young women of her age she keeps the lid on it and the lyrics are both simple and subtle at the same time.
“When you need some love / I know I'm the last one / You try to call / But I always give in / To give you it all”.
There’s a suggestion of autotune on her vocal but not enough to spoil the natural voice.
Marie Ringheim has an interesting history, a musical career having almost happened by accident. She grew up without any instruments in the home and it was her grandfather who gave her a guitar as a teenager, one which she didn’t even play at first. Eventually she self-taught herself piano, guitar and music production in her bedroom before publishing a debut single, ‘I wanna be your girlfriend’ on Soundcloud which sat around for six months with hardly any plays until it was featured on the Norwegian music website NRK Urørt, gaining her a large online following.