Rebecca Black had an infamous start: for years, her name was attached to the ridiculed internet hit ‘Friday’, but there was always more to the story. The 2021 EP ‘Rebecca Black Was Here’ was a ballsy reintroduction where the Mexican-American shedded her tween-bopper persona and became an edgy hyperpop-obsessed newcomer. After coming out as a queer woman in 2020, her exceptional writing of same-sex relationships has been inspired by avant-garde superstars like Madonna and SOPHIE. Now, as she tells The AV Club, she’s ready to make pop “that fucking pushes boundaries and lives outside of what someone would think pop would be”. Her laser-sharp debut album ‘Let Her Burn’ certainly does that.
In 10 tracks, ‘Let Her Burn’ touches on so many genres; ‘Destroy Me’ is a gutsy synth-rock track, ‘Cry Hard Enough’ boasts a moody breakbeat and ‘Misery Loves Company’ is a funky French house-esque delight. ‘Doe Eyed’, meanwhile harps back to the 808-heavy hyperpop she already demonstrated on her ‘Friday’ 10th-anniversary remix, which featured scene leaders 100 gecs and ‘10s synth-pop duo 3OH3!. Through the high-octane tracks of betrayal, frustration, and unrequited love, Black is grappling with the idea of losing love. It’s chaotic like the opening section of the project but, by the latter half, she uses misty pop songs to prove that you can get over pain.
The 25-year-old could have easily delivered a one-noted debut that followed cliché modern pop tropes, or have songwriters write her a certified hit (Black writes on every song on ‘Let Her Burn’), yet she prioritised an emotive display instead. Opening the latter section is the sombre ‘Sick To My Stomach’, a track that pulls from ‘80s post-disco to channel the messy emotions of a break-up: “I hate her and I don’t even know her”. The self-reflective closer ‘Performer’ is Black detailing her life as a star who struggles with loneliness, outside tribulations and deep-seated pain: “Multiple versions / Of the same person / All of them hurting”.
Admiring her transparency in her tainted love stories, which could both refer to her tumultuous relationship with music or a lover, and her bolshy exploration of bemusing eclectic pop music, ‘Let Her Burn’ is worth the wait. In ‘Cry Hard Enough’, Rebecca Black puts out her new life mission statement: “I wanna stand tall on my own”. Hopefully Black knows now that she can.
- Release date: February 9, 2023
- Record label: Rebecca Black