- By Regan Harvey -
With access to the internet, artists no longer need managers and publicists to find themselves in the limelight.
One such example of this phenomenon is nineteen-year-old Claire Cottrill, better known by her stage name, Clairo. The Massachusetts teen found herself at the forefront of a genre known as "bedroom pop" after her videos went viral on Youtube. The genre describes a low-production value type of music entirely written and produced by one person. Clairo dropped her first EP, diary 001, late last month.
Listening to diary 001 feels like taking a peek into a teenager's journal.
The EP's name is spot on. The intimate lyrics perfectly encapsulate the uncertainty and awkwardness of growing up and navigating relationships. At the same time, Cottrill's soft and flat vocals are almost more reminiscent of telling secrets at a slumber party than singing.
The fifth track on the album, "Pretty Girl," is what launched Clairo's success. In true bedroom pop fashion, she shot a music video for the song on photo booth in her childhood room. The video features Cottrill singing along to her lyrics, dancing, changing costumes, and sipping on an iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts like the true Massachusetts native she is. It looks like the kind of fan video many high schoolers make dancing along to their favorite songs. The simplicity and relatable-ness of the video may have charmed viewers, but it was the song that caught the attention of the greater public. Clairo wasn't just playing on her laptop like many teens do, she was performing a song she wrote and produced herself. Cottrill has the expertise of an artist who has been honing her skills for years.
"Pretty Girl" describes a feeling many teenage girls can relate to.
In the lyrics, Cottrill struggles with the need to change herself for a relationship. The singer croons, "I could be a pretty girl, shut up when you want me to," before her voice breaks on the line, "I'll lose myself in you." The track is a perfect mix of sincere self-doubt and a serious indictment of toxic relationships for young women. In the video, the singer shakes her head on the lines in question, as if chastising her past self for thinking such a way.
The six track EP is rife with nostalgic beats and melodies.
Moving past her bedroom pop roots, the EP features collaborations with Irish rapper Rejjie Snow and British producer Danny L. Harle. Not to worry, there's plenty of all-Clairo goodness as well. The young songwriter is fond of using sound effects and sampling, making each track a unique and interesting listening experience. The songs are short, less than 3 minutes each. These components make for addicting tracks that leave the listener wanting more. Thankfully, as the "001" suggests, this is the first of many releases Clairo will deliver.