Clairo’s “Bubble Gum” and “Sis” Showcase the Early Promise of an Anti-Pop Star

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Claire Cotrill, better known as Clairo on the Internet and across thousands of playlists, has skyrocketed over the past couple of years to exist as the pinnacle of lo-fi, wistful anti-pop that embodies the down-to-earth experiences of simply growing up and attempting to figure out what growing up means. A now veritable staple of the anti-pop genre, Clairo is poised, if she has not already, to bring her sweet lo-fi lullabies to the world at large. And in revisiting two of her earliest works, one can see hints at the star DJ baby benz was always meant to be.

Originally released on Soundcloud and largely unavailable elsewhere, "Bubble Gum" and "Sis" illustrate an early fascination with the roots of the genre Clairo would go on to inform. "Bubble Gum," a four-year old single, which has existed as a Clairo deep cut until now, is as straightforward a song about the push-and-pull of teenage love as they come. Existing behind a permanent layer of fuzz, clairo wistfully sings, "Sorry I didn't kiss you/ But it's obvious I wanted to."

The song itself is rough around the edges but to polish the original in any way feels like it would be a disservice to the then 16-year-old clairo who created "Bubble Gum." Keeping even the out-of-place twang of the ukulele intact, "Bubble Gum" encapsulates an artist's early enchantment with transforming her lived, often not perfectly understood feelings, by even herself, into song.

Meanwhile, on "Sis," a track which was released two years later, we begin to see a more fully-realized Clairo. In contrast to the lone ukulele that made up "Bubble Gum," "Sis" falls more in line with the world of indie rock or folk in regard to instrumentation. However, the sentiment of evolving young love remains roughly the same. Conquering the aforementioned butterflies of a first kiss, Clairo dives deeper in "Sis" to explore themes of emotional and physical intimacy. Taken together, "Bubble Gum" and "Sis" are akin to a timeline of an artist finding their voice, a voice that would come to charm the world over in the viral hits "Pretty Girl" and "Flaming Hot Cheetos."

For more on Clairo, revisit the first time we discovered the anti-pop star to be.

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