Maggie Lindemann is an American singer songwriter who has lived the last 4 years seemingly off the hype of a single song. Whereas now she has something more substantial to show us than a remix of the same 4 year old song or a feature in Insert generic rappers* amazing new track. In fact, she has a whole album.
At just over 20 minutes and only 8 tracks long it certainly does not impress in length and the songs themselves rarely surpass 3 minutes, but even with this limitation is the best structured album I have heard in years. In a complete 180 reminiscent of Poppy’s turn from pop to metal Maggie has changed from a slick voice over an acoustic guitar or shiny electronic instrumental into a direction closer to that of Yungblud or old Paramore with distorted guitars, aggressive in your face drums and a pop punk song structure. The first track Knife Under My Pillow sounds straight up out of a Yungblud album, a short snappy 2 minute with an ABAB. Its instrumental is minimal with a great use of the simple melodic structures and power chords. It’s a textbook example of pop punk and is really brought together by the clean production with punchy drums and impactful guitars. Gaslight completely deviates from the first track with an distorted, industrial instrumental closer to XXXtentacion than 90s/2000s rock that makes up most of the album. SiiickBrain features and adds shouted pre-choruses which work appropriately with the instrumental. Scissorhand combines the first two tracks relatively adeptly, bringing in the electronic instrumentation of Gaslight and combining it with distorted and melodic guitars on top, again the track is well produced but does not stand out from other tracks on the album.
Crash and Burn gives clear Paramore vibes with the song sounding eerily close to Misery Business in its instrumental. Her voice sounds completely at home on an instrumental like this with an Avril Lavigne like quality making for an enjoyable track. The track’s simple ABABCB structure does little to push the boat out but while not experimental it’s well produced and a fun listen. Loner has little impact on me, making it hard to really talk about. Its production is again great but it does nothing new and does not have the impactful impact of other tracks making more ballads like in comparison to everything else on the album. Maggie does seem to like very direct song titles with Love Song and is the closest example of some of her original work with the track mainly made of an acoustic guitar and vocals with little other instrumental. While not an abrupt change after Loner it is a definite change from any other song on the album. Different transitions back to the distorted guitars of the original few tracks, as a track it is again well produced, clean and listenable with a snappy chorus and a memorable hook. It’s Not Your Fault rounds off the album and brings us full circle back to pop punk. Starting off with likely the most memorable hook on the whole album it leads to the most compositionally complex and longest song on the album. It still uses many of the common motifs, distorted guitars in the choruses and cleaner, melodic guitar lines in the verses but uses these on top of bigger hooks and short instrumental interludes, giving it some differentiation from other tracks on the album.
Paranoia is short and sweet and has little in the way of filler. At 20 minutes it’s worth your time and while it’s not going to blow your mind it’s well produced, well structured and filled with memorable hooks.