The Norwegian musician has been on the rise for a few years now, her momentum accelerating with each propulsive single and her two EPs Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. Melding together dream-pop and garage rock concoctions in her bedroom, Marie Ulven’s songs are wistful and passionate. (“bad idea” has been a welcome repeat since it dropped last fall.) Her latest is the eager lament “midnight love.”
Opening with anxious string plucks—akin to Andrew Bird—and melancholic piano chords, Ulven’s vocals descend in like a ghost haunting the bed of a clandestine affair. As girl in red, Ulven inhabits the perspective of someone being exploited in a hook-up situation. She dreams of resolving her unfinished business, with some grieving time in between, realizing that she’s worth more than the relationship’s twilight limitations. “I can’t be your midnight love/When your silver is my gold,” Ulven sings in a breathy sigh during the chorus. It’s easy to forget your self-worth under the spell of another, your own magical spark vulnerable to someone’s affection, or lack thereof. Ultimately, Ulven won’t let someone extinguish her flame. On “midnight love,” she’s an advocate for personal boundaries over dehumanizing romances.
Ostensibly, girl in red is singing from a perspective inverse to a recent personal experience. She explains that the song was inspired by the mistreatment of a friend, which made her realize she’d made a similar shitty mistake in her own life:
“A close friend was treated the same way i had treated someone else. like, this dude would text her at night to see if they could meet up, and it kind of gave her false hope that they could be something more, so she always would say yes and be there for him. seeing that so up close gave me some perspective and i realized that my situation was very similar. so this song is pretty much me reflecting on how small i’ve made someone else feel. even though i never meant be a dick, i was. we met up recently after she heard the song and i apologized. i think she forgave me.”