Photo: Jade Sadler
French-Korean alt-pop star in the making spill tab, née Claire Chicha, harnesses the potential of digital collaboration and a unique sense of relatability in her sophomore EP Bonnie. Showing off her creative range and sonic versatility with the hyperpop highs of “Pistolwhip” and the dreamy psych-rock influenced Gus Dapperton-assisted “Velcro," the genre-shifting artist soaks up her influences to create a platter of anti-pop that sparks all the senses.
The record’s opener, "Pistolwhip,” according to the LA-via-Bangkok artist, is about going through something emotionally painful and the dichotomy of being angry but also being vulnerable. "I wanted to imagine what it’d be like in the head of someone who’s just finding out they’re being cheated on," said the singer to Genius. "They’re vacillating between pure rage and just wanting to hold on ‘cause they love that person so deeply, and then the underlying issues of that relationship sort of start to show in the second verse. It’s just a descent into madness, I guess." The track builds into a cacophony of distortion that brews a genuinely frantic, unsettling feeling as she deals with the contrasting experiences of betrayal.
Listeners then travel to the dreamy world of “en quatre.” Written in Paris with her producers Myd and marinelli, the French-language song starts off soft and slow, highlighting spill tab’s silky smooth vocals. As it progresses, the soothing track blends with elements of twinkling piano, layered breathy harmonies, and pulsing beats that tie the whole piece together.
“Anybody Else” is a perfect love song. It’s short, sweet, and straight to the point, filled with playful introspection and sprinkled with a relatable lo-fi intro and outro. She shamelessly expresses her love without openly saying I love you, all while lightheartedly singing saccharine lines like, “I like you, don’t like anybody else/And I crave you, I will keep you to myself."
Next is the most asymmetrical track on the record, ”Indecisive.“ With its fast-paced melody, spitfire lyrics, and vocals, the track is an inventive, tongue-twister that keeps listeners on their toes. The addition of rapper Tommy Genesis elevates the tune into something sharp, funky, and dynamically layered in rich sonic textures. In an interview with NME, the singer shared, "We’ve never met in person! When [producer] David [Marinelli] and I started making the song, we realized that we needed a fast rap section - and there was no way in hell that I was going to be doing that part. I’ve been a fan of Tommy for ages, and I really wanted a woman of color to be on the track - that was really important to me. Over Instagram DMs, we formed the basic outline of what she and I wanted to do. One day we’ll hang out; this is the first collaboration where I haven’t spent time with the artist. She bodied her verse though!”
“Grade A” explores the fear of being unable to meet romantic expectations. High-energy and eccentric, Chicha softly sings, “I’ll never be your grade A chase/With the perfect face like some perfect prey” before being engulfed with a heavy drum and bass-indebted beat. The track especially shines when fellow indie-pop singer-songwriter JAWNY takes the mic and plays the role of a pleasing antagonist to spill tab’s sonic banter. He cheekily quips, “Lady, you driving me crazy, why you gotta frame me?”
Bonnie’s closing track, “Velcro,” is a sonic examination of emotions, focusing in on loneliness and anxiety. spill tab shares with listeners their vulnerability in lines like, "Cornered by thought of getting crushed by the ceiling, I look down, but it didn’t kill me," and "Oh, no, I’m so bad at going solo, I’m attachеd to being 'motional, Catching onto shit like velcro…" "It felt incredibly easy and natural working with Gus," she shared with DIY. ".. it’s such a positive experience because you can tell he just really wants to service the song and support the other person in the room. He’s a very selfless collaborator, and I’m so proud and excited for this one.“
Bonnie is a collection rife with diversity and experimental depth, foreshadowing a promising future for the boundary-pushing pop artist. spill tab certainly makes her mark, layering momentum carefully and using the freshness of collaboration to drive the record forward.
Listen to Bonnie below: