Tessa Violet and the Heartfelt Anti-Pop of 'Bad Ideas'
Now more than ever, the internet finds itself producing artist after artist. Whether it comes to pass as warranted venture into music or not, it is happening more than ever. YouTube, specifically, has brought forward names such as Joji and Rich Brian, from internet meme to hip-hop and R&B heartthrobs. For a former vlogger from Illinois, this transition from internet personality to musician is going right according to plan.
Tessa Violet's Bad Ideas arrives as a varied range of sonics and emotions catapulted by a viral sensation. The viral sensation in question is of course "Crush," whose transfixing music video has been watched over 49 million times on YouTube alone. Plus, it certainly does not hurt that it's gone viral on TikTok. Follow that up with other infectious singles, in the form of "I Like (the idea of) You" and the titular "Bad Ideas," and you have an album we could not wait to give a spin.
Bad Ideas details themes surrounding relationships, crushes, being bored, and while it is wholly sweet and relatable, it never at any point feels one-note. "Prelude" opens the album, introducing us to the soft and rich voice of Violet, showcasing a level of rawness we will not see again until the album's close. As the song draws to a close, however, the listener hears an undulating riser that leads into the second track and sets the pace of the album. This combination of electronic music, contemporary pop, and the raw attributes of acoustic guitar all make the album an interesting take on anti-pop.
Second, on the tracklist is the iconic, "Crush," a simple ode to wanting to be someone's crush. With very strong bass hits and gentle chime-like keys, Violet's vocals nicely contradict the hectic nature of the backing production. Overall, "Crush" is an exceptionally great time. With a playful use of adlibs and percussion, Violet crafts a piece that is perfect for bedroom dancing and, as we already know, making TikToks.
Despite there being several great moments throughout Bad Ideas, there are two distinct tracks that stand out from the rest. With, "Bored" and "Words Ain't Enough," Violet brings forward very novel songs that continue to hone in on her strengths of crafting enjoyable and enticing moments of indie-pop bliss. "Bored" addresses the idea of being, well, bored. The highly relatable song captures the sensation of scrolling through one's photos seeking purpose, and going on to question, "Is this all there is?" Near the song's closing moments, Violet lets out a cathartic belt, giving an impossible-to-ignore voice to the sense of existential depression.
On "Words Ain't Enough," Violet takes a candid approach to address the topic of not being enough for someone, as well as allowing actions, rather than words, to deliver a message. What stands out on this track is the overwhelmingly heartfelt vocals and the precise enunciation. The striking way in which even the word "enough" comes off her tongue could be classified as an art in and of itself.
To conclude, the listener is left with "Interlude 3." On the interlude, all that is needed is the gentle voice of Violet and an enchanting set guitar chords to draw the Bad Ideas to a close. Along with the straightforward rawness of the instrumentation, the message is all the more insightful and clear. Violet touches upon self-doubt and the general notion of being down with no sign of relief. Juxtaposing this is the ever-sweet voice of Violet, providing a perfect sense of circular competition that was first introduced in "Prelude."
Bad Ideas is an instantly enjoyable piece of work that many listeners will instantly find themselves gravitating towards without a moment's hesitation, only to find themselves enraptured by the sentimental musings of Violet.
Listen to Bad Ideas below:
For more from Tessa Violet, revisit our game of truth or dare with the rising indie-pop artist below.