Album Review: “paranoia party” by Frances Forever

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Frances Forever breaks out of the TikTok-trend mold for her versatile EP paranoia party.

With teens and tweens trapped in their homes at the start of the pandemic, TikTok became a popular outlet for both content creators and spectators. Through this new platform, small artists like Frances Forever shot to the top of the charts when their songs were incorporated into TikTok trends. “space girl,” the second song off Frances Forever’s EP paranoia party, turned into a trend for the off-beat fashionistas to display their eclectic style and gained Frances traction in the indie-pop world. Riding on the viral success of the track, Frances released paranoia party in July of 2021. 

The EP starts with “depression,” an almost folksy pop-song dedicated to Frances’s mental health struggles. This song begins not with a beat, like the majority of songs on paranoia party, but with a gentle humming. While the humming seems soothing at first, it soon becomes repetitive as it is looped in the same pattern throughout the whole song. Even when other elements are added, such as drums, her droning voice in the background still overpowers. The humming, paired with dark lyrics such as “My shoulders feel heavier and heavier / I can’t recognise my face when I look in the mirror / Are they dead or just tired?” makes the song unsettling. It adds a haunting echo to the thoughts inside Frances’ head. 

One of the more stand out songs on the EP is “my condolences to myself.” With a lo-fi beat and ad-libs throughout the chorus, this song delivers an unexpected R&B vibe that deviates from the first two tracks. The rise and fall throughout the song replicate her feelings about her past relationship. Her retrospective feelings are filled with regret at her passivity and naivete in the relationship, as shown in “Stitched myself up from where I went wrong / It was so hard to carry on.” Frances, singing “You beat me up in my head / Always second best / You pushed me to the edge,” also expresses anger towards her past partner for taking advantage of her. 

Shifting to a political instead of introspective eye on “eat the rich,” Frances Forever encourages the rich to “go suck a dick and get off your high horse.” The blunt message contrasting with the ukulele and upbeat melody deliver a certain light and almost comedic effect to the song. The juxtaposition of the rich “drinking up the privilege” and Frances enjoying “wine and dine at home” in the chorus further the divide between herself and the wealthy. While Frances is enjoying her homemade diner, the rich are out wasting their money on extravagant meals. Frances even goes so far as to contrast not just her lifestyle but her personal style with the rich, singing “Say one more thing about my hair / And about the socks I wear.”

Frances’s EP improved with every song and clearly demonstrated her versatility as an artist. She showed she can produce more than just bedroom pop songs that blow up on social media platforms. Beyond the focus of “space girl” on romanticized attraction, singing about her own struggles adds more depth to her album and leaves more room for Frances to grow as an artist as she gains more experience. 

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