Biig Piig – ‘Bubblegum’ review: the start of an electric new era

With songs that are distinctly upbeat, the singer and rapper's debut mixtape is a compelling change of direction

A transformative trip to Los Angeles is often a rite of passage for young musicians. For Jessica Smyth, the Irish-born, London-based artist better known as Biig Piig, her move to LA in 2020 was the inspiration behind her debut mixtape ‘Bubblegum’. But instead of being influenced by the Cali sunshine or Hollywood, it’s the conflicting emotions of relocating to a new city that are embedded in this stellar project, one which Smyth has previously likened to a musical time capsule.

Though Smyth has since returned to London, the tracks of ‘Bubblegum’ effortlessly conjure images of her whirlwind time in LA. There are moments that explore what it’s like to feel lost in a fresh and overwhelming place, evident in the evocative lyrics of ‘In The Dark’: “These dreams of mine / Have they come to die in this place?,” Smyth sighs over an indie-flecked instrumental.

Elsewhere, Smyth seeks to highlight the other messy, contrasting feelings a major life change can bring. Flitting from the blazing highs of new relationships (‘Kerosene’), and creeping loneliness (‘Picking Up’), ‘Bubblegum’ paints a deeply intimate portrait of creativity and anxiety.

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While 2021 EP ‘The Sky Is Bleeding’ was bolstered by grungy instrumentals, on ‘Bubblegum’, Smyth hones in on a neon-hued dance sound. The elastic ‘Picking Up’, a team-up with US artist Deb Never, thrives off warped beats that erupt into a drum ‘n’ bass-style breakdown. The sleek ‘Kerosene’, recalls pop icon Robyn with its half-spoken vocals and crystalline synths; ‘This Is What They Meant’, meanwhile, is a slice of pure pop, built on subtle disco licks and euphoric hooks.

The sultry ‘Ghosting’, a celebration of the freedom that comes with being unknown in a new place, fuses a subtle hip-hop beat with woozy synths and a funky bassline. Offering verses in both Spanish and English, the track sees Smyth repeat: “I could be anyone / Find a new city to get lost in”. It’s a sentiment that could sum up ‘Bubblegum’, too. By tying together contrasting sounds and stories into this brilliant collection, Biig Piig embraces the joy of reinvention.

Details

biig piig bubblegum

  • Release date: January 20
  • Record label: RCA

 

 

 

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