The Californian’s debut record is a wild sonic ride through absurd ideas and troubled realities in equal measure.
I first became acquainted with Remi Wolf in the middle of 2020, where her joyous tunes were welcomed at such an uncertain time. My initial impressions of the 25 year-old from California back then were, “Who is this chaotic girl?!” and then pretty soon after, “…I think I love her.” Her debut album Juno came out earlier this month and, as I had expected, those initial impressions were revived and came flooding back.
Much like the singer herself, on first impressions Juno seems to be nothing more than a crazy, eclectic kaleidoscope of colour and sound, which Remi describes as “funky soul pop”. Admitting that the songs she wrote during the pandemic are more manic, she says she channelled a lot of her frustration and anger into the high-energy of the music. However, once you discover that she checked herself into rehab last summer after realising she had issues with alcohol (something she has been very open about), many of her lyrics take on a more sombre tone and juxtapose the upbeat sounds. Liquor Store – quite possibly my most-listened to song on the album - is directly related to this difficult period of her life where she felt majorly insecure. It now seems obvious that the product of all the energy and effort she’s channelled into getting sober has been this album, and the pride I have for her is sister-like.
That being said, a lot of her lyrics are just so bizarre and fun that I can’t help but grin from ear-to-ear when I hear them. One of my favourites is a snippet from a verse in Quiet on Set and includes this bizarre scenario; “Orgy at Five Guys with five guys / That's ten guys and Holy Christ / I've never seen more nuts in my life!”
If you’re a serial song-skipper or are notorious for only listening to half of a song at one time, I beg you not to do this with any of the songs on Juno. There is so much going on in the last 40 seconds of Guerilla - making it a song not for the faint-hearted - and the outro to Quiet on Set is the script of a plea for help from little Remi who’s been separated from her mommy in a store. The range of what Remi can do with her voice is just something that has to be appreciated as a whole.
There were a few songs on the album I didn’t quite rejoice over as much, like Buttermilk and Street You Live On, although she has admitted that the latter is the closest she’s ever gotten to writing a sad song, so maybe that’s why it doesn’t feel as typically “Remi Wolf” as what I’m used to. On the other hand, wyd is underrated in my opinion and I would have liked to have seen it released as a single.
Sadly Remi’s London gig as part of her Juno tour is currently sold out. I think seeing her live would be as much an attack on the senses as entering Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory would be, so you can be sure I’ve signed up to the waiting list.
Top track(s): Liquor Store, Quiet on Set, Sexy Villain
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