Published Sep 03, 2019Georgia Flipo's heart was broken, so she wrote some songs about it.
That's the short version of About Us, the Australian musician's debut as G Flip. It's also the short version of every other pop album ever released, but About Us stands above the fray of would-be pop stars spilling their woes across the internet.
The demos that would become her debut were written when both her band and her relationship with her girlfriend went up in flames. Charting the progression of her grief, opener "Lover" makes it clear that Flipo isn't interested in platonic reconciliation: "I just want to be your lover / You know that we ain't friends." On standouts "Drink Too Much" and "Killing My Time," Flipo buries her hurt in the bottle and temporary lovers (spoiler alert: neither works). Both have already been released as singles, and their uptempo hooks will drag listeners in. But it's the mid-tempo numbers and ballads — "Morning" in particular — that house some of G Flip's stickiest melodies.
Flipo cut her teeth as a drummer, and her natural sense of rhythm is pervasive here. For one thing, it's swinging beats — sometimes actual live drum tracks — not throbbing bass that anchor the whole thing. And her vocal delivery is marked by an uncanny ability to hang just behind the beat. Some may call it a lack of precision, but the result is a modern pop record that feels lived in and real. Not to mention she's a surprisingly soulful voice for someone who was best known for briefly keeping time in a dodgy rock group, more analogous to the pop R&B of P!nk than the Arianas and Taylors currently holding down pop's centre.
About Us walks a fine line between the deeply personal and universal, basically the holy grail of confessional songwriting. It's tempting to slot her into the long line of bedroom pop producers whose music lines Bandcamp and Soundcloud's metaphorical hallways. And while such characterization wouldn't be wrong — her debut single, "About You," was literally written in her bedroom, surfacing on YouTube slathered in digital haze with a video shot on her iPhone — producer gurus Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim) and Justin Tranter (Justin Bieber) both have credits on the record, and almost every other track feels like a panorama compared to her cloudy aesthetic beginning. That it still feels like a self-contained statement is a testament to Flipo's artistic vision.
Still, all roads lead to "About You." It was her breakout, and here serves as the album's emotional and narrative climax. The longing for her ex is palpable in the chorus: "You're right there / And I'm right here thinking 'bout / Here thinking about you / About you."
In reality, the couple got back together after listening to the demos that the breakup had inspired; the massive drum fill that carries the final third of "About You" is supposed to signify their reconciliation. Out of context the song was a powerful statement, enough to put G Flip on the map, but against the record's emotional backdrop, it takes the track — and the album as a whole — to Phil Collins-level catharsis. (Future Classic)