By Meg McCarney
Liverpool native Liam Brown, performing as pizzagirl, establishes himself as an indie-pop artist to watch with “Bullet Train.” The second single from his forthcoming sophomore album, Softcore Mourn, “Bullet Train” is an aptly-named track that takes off at shocking speeds. For the four minutes it runs, it pulls listeners along on a synth-filled, autotune-laden time-warp tunnel of a ride. Despite its melancholic subject matter, it’s a surprisingly danceable break-up anthem, relying on electro-beats and heavy production for its pep.
In a statement on his Bandcamp page, Brown wrote:
“Here’s my second single “Bullet Train,” another breakup song I think, but this time, at 200mph. I sound really bitter on this, and for good reason I’d say, my screen time is high, my battery is low and there’s no 5g at the end of this tunnel; haha ;)”
That sly, side-eyed wink embodies the entire track. Here, clunky, thumping beats disguise what is, in reality, a pretty razor-sharp takedown of a former lover and an examination of Brown’s self-soothing in the wake of their love. Lyrically, “bullet train” is so blunt that it’s tough to look away from. Brown packs multiple disses into a four-minute track, directed at the lover whom he confidently concludes makes his list of “top three worst women.” He not-so-subtly suggests that she visits a plastic surgeon and references her habit of petty social media unfriending, as a way of getting his revenge against her.
As soon as Brown processes his anger, it’s channeled and redirected just as rapidly, like a train switching tracks. For him, these transitions between potent emotions are seamless, bleeding into one another effortlessly. For every knock against his former partner, we are hit with images of Brown blacking out to, even momentarily, seek relief from fixating on their relationship. It’s a track that pinpoints the precise, post-apocalyptic nature of romantic grieving, emphasizing the delirium of “crying on the subway” and the panic and hysteria that comes with watching the world as you knew it fall apart.
“Bullet Train" is an ideal complement to pizzagirl's newest release, “sugar ray,” the third single from Softcore Mourn, which dropped on June 2. “sugar ray" unveils a softer, more sentimental side of Brown’s second EP, as opposed to the two previously released, high-octane singles. Paired together, pizzagirl’s recent tracks hint at the album’s underlying juxtaposition of the toxicity of the Internet and our reliance on it for connection and romance. Similarly, the appeal of “bullet train" lies in its indecisiveness, the frenetic nature in which it fluctuates between emotions and sounds rapidly. “bullet train" bombards listeners with a barrage of messages on paranoia, heartbreak, and loneliness in the age of digital love -- we’re lucky to be along for the ride.
Softcore Mourn debuts July 16 via Heist or Hit records; pre-save the album here.
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