Existing somewhere between the worlds of punk and bubblegum pop, blurring the lines of infectiously catchy and intentionally off-putting, is GIRLI. Milly Toomey, the 18-year-old Londoner behind the dyed neon-pink persona of GIRLI, is actively rebranding pop into something a little less pristine and manufactured in favor of her own chaotically charming vision.
Loud, outspoken, brash, exuberant, and highly sensational, GIRLI’s music is hard to pin and is as equally hard to put down after the first listen. From the “did she just say that?” moments to the “wait did we just go from bubblegum pop to U.K. grime?” whiplash, each one of GIRLI’s songs is not quite exactly like the last. Perhaps it is in the spirit of clear musical influence and inspiration Blondie, the ‘80s pop band where GIRLI derived her name from and who also threw together elements of hip-hop, punk, and pop with similar abandon.
Most of GIRLI’s songs do start in a familiar enough territory, beginning with moments of stunning DIY electronic production, but the moment GIRLI joins the track any and all expectations may as well go out the window. “Feel OK” begins on a tropical house vibe before GIRLI finds herself joined by Lethal Bizzle for one of the most unexpected collaborations of pure pop magic. Yet, there’s “Too Much Fun,” which contains production evocative of PC Music, courtesy of Henrik the Artist, matched in equal intensity by GIRLI’s fast-paced blend of rap and pop vocals. The most self-referential example of GIRLI’s punk sensibility in breaking down conventional genre barriers is “So You Think You Can Fuck With Me Do Ya,” which in its short four minutes contains vocal skits, a stirring pop ballad, instantly satirizing said pop ballad, and GIRLI’s trademark blend of rap and pop vocal all backed behind video game style samples and shimmering electropop production.
Despite evading any clear or simple categorization, the one thing that can be said of GIRLI is the consistency of her voice within all her tracks. Every moment described in the handful of her tracks never seeks to glamorize any aspect of her day-to-day life nor shy away from hard truths. Less than stellar nights out, boys who try too hard, the social media age, and all presented within a lens of brilliant satire and feminism, GIRLI truly is crafting the next wave of pop with undeniable punk sensibilities.
Discover GIRLI for yourself below and keep an eye out for her Hot Mess EP due September 26: