Premiere: Madeline Rhodes’ Debut Single “Bailing on Your Birthday” Invites Listeners to Cancel Their Party Plans & Focus on Mental Health Instead

Madeline Rhodes © Ana Lefaux
Madeline Rhodes © Ana Lefaux
A danceable hit with anti-pop lyrics, “Bailing on Your Birthday” showcases Madeline Rhodes’ witty sense of humor and natural ability to write clever pop songs. 
Stream: “Bailing on Your Birthday” – Madeline Rhodes

I think it is important to note that I am currently sitting alone in my apartment with a pink “Happy Birthday” tiara that has sequins and pom-poms glued onto its exterior (leftover from my last underwhelming birthday party) resting comfortably on my head. This is the location and garb I deemed most appropriate for listening to “Bailing on Your Birthday” on repeat, while happily writing this piece about the newly released single off of Madeline Rhodes’ debut album, The Brothel.

Bailing on Your Birthday - Madeline Rhodes
Bailing on Your Birthday – Madeline Rhodes

Madeline Rhodes (also recognized under the artist name MuMu) is definitely putting her best foot forward as a clever songwriter and witty lyricist through the release of her debut single, “Bailing on Your Birthday,” written and recorded with French producer, Gaspard Murphy. She has a way of being unapologetic about her prioritization of self-care, while also seeing the humor in its manifestation. She is open about this song being an account of real-life events that transpired between her and her best friend.

It’s not always about you
I’m bailing on your birthday

“It was my best friend’s birthday and I was having a terrible depressive episode,” Rhodes recalls on the track’s origins. “I called her after the party had already started and told her I wasn’t coming. She was pissed and I was like ‘it’s not always about you!!!’…on her birthday. Rude. But also kinda true? I wrote this song as an explanation for my absence at her party. I hope that when she hears it, she forgives me.”

After recording the song, Rhodes did indeed decide to play it for her friend, whose party inspired the titular lyric and overall concept. It turns out that all’s well that ends well, since Rhodes’s friend was not offended by the song. On the contrary, she was honored, and has since taken a liking to singing the lyrics out loud and playing it proudly for other people. Of course, Rhodes had no way of knowing this would be her reaction when deciding to turn their disagreement into a pop song.

I’m an insecure
Self unassured
Death of the party
Sleeping on the dance floor

Lyrically, the track sounds almost like an anti-pop song. Sure, the melody and rhythms are catchy and danceable, but the words actively invite its listeners to stay home, put on some pajamas, maybe make some tea, and have a cozy night in. It is a humorous relief from the energetic, wild-night-out lyrics we hear blaring from our radios at all hours of the day. Pop music is played in all sorts of different environments, so why do the lyrics always have to take place at a rave? When I hear a song on the radio on my way home from an exhausting day of work, I might not want to be reminded of the fact that I could be out clubbing or doing something exciting with my friends, if only I had more energy. Instead of pressuring us to party, Rhodes provides a self-indulgent “mood murderer” anthem, perfect for dancing alone in one’s bedroom.

I know I’m meant to practice what I preach
But I’m so scared of nearly everything

Rhodes also offers us a window into her vulnerability, touching on her struggles with mental health and her difficulty in navigating the paradoxes of her own personality. “I write a lot of songs that exude confidence and preach empowerment,” Rhodes shares. “And in my friend group I usually present as an upbeat and social person. So it surprises new friends when I say I’m depressed or too anxious to come out. And it surprises some listeners when I write from the darker corner of my emotional world.”

Madeline Rhodes © Ana Lefaux
Madeline Rhodes © Ana Lefaux

This song displays a brilliant balance between Rhodes’ message of empowerment and her feelings of depression and anxiety.

While delivering a confident vocal performance, she gives herself permission to be a little bit scared and anxious in the face of peer pressure. This balance is reflected well in the song’s lyric video, shot by Théo Jourdain (in exchange for Rhodes’ help with doing his taxes, oddly enough.) The VHS video shows Rhodes dancing around an apartment by herself, digging into a birthday cake with her bare hands, while the lyrics pop up onto the screen in the form of text message bubbles. The dichotomy between the party props and the anti-social energy is magnificent.

“Bailing on Your Birthday” is an exciting single to kick off the release cycle of Madeline Rhodes’ debut album. Championing her wit, honesty, and sense of danceability, this song promises much to look forward to in the fresh and thought-provoking pop songs that are sure to come from her future releases. Stream the lyric video exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

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:: stream/purchase Bailing on Your Birthday here ::
:: connect with Madeline Rhodes here ::
Stream: “Bailing on Your Birthday” – Madeline Rhodes

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Bailing on Your Birthday - Madeline Rhodes

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? © Ana Lefaux

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