Photo: Brent McKeever
Intentionally or not, PinkPantheress is a project rooted in nostalgia. It's music that speaks to a Y2K nostalgia, the sort of instantaneously infectious amalgamation of heartfelt, aloof lyricism and lucid drum & bass that would have likely made the UK rising star a go-to selection for Myspace homepages in another reality. And yet, her candid confessions filtered through an anachronistic digital lens feel uniquely emblematic of the world we find ourselves in and how we choose to communicate everything from mundane passing thoughts to life-defining revelations.
to hell with it arrives as PinkPantheress' debut project. The 10-track mixtape builds on her series of viral hits to present a more complete picture of the UK producer and artist beyond a TikTok-hit-making machine. "I'm super excited to share this project with you all as my first body of work, I've been collecting songs that I've made this year and while I'm still developing my sound, I'm hoping these songs immerse you into your ideal fantasy world as you listen," she shares.
If one fault could have previously been levied at PinkPantheress, it likely would have been her reliance on compelling, emotionally-laden sprints of emotional catharsis. And while time will likely reveal a legion of imitators and critical reevaluations in the years to come, to hell with it is evidence that while her sound may be a distinctive one, in no way is it one-dimensional.
"Last valentines" sees the UK talent revisiting the lyrical echo that defined her viral hit "Just for me," albeit this time lending her delicate vocal tone to an angst-riddled fusion of electronic and organic instrumentation. Then there are tracks like "Notice I cried" and "Reason," maximalist demonstrations of her trademark sound that feel practically brimming with all the joy and sorrow of young adulthood. Yet, what's likely to arrive as two particular standout moments come near the tail end of the mixtape. "All my friends know" and "Nineteen" forego much of the grand production flourishes that preceded them, instead opting to experiment with new sonic textures, ranging from dancehall to R&B.
Taken altogether, to hell with it is an enthralling glimpse into PinkPantheress' fantastical world, a momentary glance pieced together by a series of fragmented memories that are neither lacking for sonic or emotional cohesion.
Listen to to hell with it below: