Today’s Song: girl in red’s Essential and Euphoric “rue”

girl in red © Isak Jensen
girl in red © Isak Jensen
Euphoria-inspired “rue” is a new beginning for girl in red, cementing her as one of the most essential Gen Z voices in music today.
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Stream: “rue” – girl in red

Rue - Girl in RedSince its first episode, HBO’s Euphoria has inspired an array of trends: colourful eye makeup, glittery tears, the popularisation of so-called “bisexual lighting”, an internet obsession with Alexa Demie, Hunter Schafer, and Barbie Ferreira, the temporary but official rebirth of Zendaya’s musical career, the cementing of Jacob Elordi as the next heartthrob to watch.

rue”, girl in red’s latest single and the first off her debut album, is another Euphoria offspring, named after the show’s protagonist. Marie Ulven, the artist behind the girl in red moniker, was inspired by the show and Zendaya’s character, saying “She is a drug addict, which I’m not. But a lot of the stuff she’s felt and is trying to escape from is shit I’m dealing with all the time” and the song started coming together while Ulven was on tour in the US.

The song is darker and poppier than Ulven’s previous offerings, a girl in red song made to be remixed and danced to at the club rather than moshed to at a show – though both are, obviously, appropriate and welcome. While the sound points towards a new direction, girl in red’s signature lyrical transparency and unique way of translating one’s most intimate thoughts in song remains in “rue”.

I remember you couldn’t stop crying
You found me when I thought I was dying
Believe me when I say
I tried so hard to change
All the crazy shit I made you do
The long nights you held me through
Believe me when I say
I could never be saved
Be saved

Dealing with one’s own mental health is the focus of “rue”. Ulven described: I wrote this song for my loved ones who are affected by my mental health. I will always try my best to get better for them, and i am forever grateful for their presence in my life”. She doesn’t shy away from detailing her deepest feelings, and expresses a strong desire for change.

It’s a tension known only to those who also struggle with their own mental health: the feeling of losing control of their own mind, guilty for and worrying about dragging loved ones down with them, the most genuine desire to get better which is so often overwhelmed by exhaustion and their own brain getting used to not being okay and that becoming the norm. It’s heavy, it’s difficult, and it’s way too common, which makes Ulven’s song even more necessary and important.

Yeah, I tried
To get it off my mind
To leave it all behind
Don’t wanna make it worse
I’m gonna make it work
Yeah, I tried
To get it off my mind
To leave it all bеhind
Don’t wanna make it worse
I’m gonna make it work

The video sees Ulven paying homage to Euphoria’s own Rue, donning her signature maroon hoodie, while she runs through dark woods, chased by a blinding spotlight which at times swallows her. Even when she settles into the darkness she’s chased, it’s clear she’s not safe as hands creep out from behind her and push her away and the trees that once represented safety collapse around her. Ulven is exasperated and tired, at times it’s not even clear what she’s running away from anymore. At the end, the inevitable happens: day breaks, with the light she fled from finally reaching her, and all Ulven can fathom to do is scream.

“rue” is a new beginning for girl in red, one that improves upon the extremely solid foundation she’s built so far and pins her as one of the most essential Gen Z voices in music today. World in Red, as Ulven calls her already-in-progress world domination, becomes more exciting each girl in red single that goes by. “rue” is sensible, pulsing, energetic, and blends the best of today’s influences: a hit show, painfully transparent lyrics that tell it like it is, and a rising talent that’s already becoming an icon for its generation.

Listen: “rue” – girl in red

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Rue - Girl in Red

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