GFOTY’s ‘Femmedorm’ sparkles, remains self-aware

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Girlfriend Records/Courtesy

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Grade: 4.0/5.0

Gaining notability through futuristic pop label PC Music, GFOTY (aka Girlfriend of the Year) immediately caught the attention of many with her surrealist approach to writing incredibly complex yet catchy songs. With hypnotic repetition and undeniably humorous lyrics, GFOTY’s sound is intelligent, even groundbreaking — all while not taking itself too seriously. 

After the announcement of her third solo album Femmedorm, expectations were understandably high. Filled to the brim with impressive hooks, danceable instrumentals and amusingly provocative lyricism, Femmedorm meets said expectations, if not exceeding them entirely. While similar to her past works, there is no reason for Femmedorm to stray too far from GFOTY’s iconic musical stylings — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

In typical GFOTY fashion, the album’s tracks feel as though they were written by an AI from the future, programmed to create songs about sex, love and partying. On “To the Party,” an upbeat, synth-forward backing track is paired with the lyrics, “We’ve all come to the party to party all night long/ And we’ll pop all the bottles and party some more,” creating a lighthearted, humorous aura. While from one angle, the song can be read as an easy-to-listen-to club track, from another it can be interpreted as a critique of the vapidness of dance music being produced today. Either way, it’s incredibly catchy and speaks to GFOTY’s ability to create music that is simple on its surface, but far more complex after a second or third listen.

Another shining star is “Baby Freestyle.” Produced by GFOTY, her usual production partner Count Baldor and Dylan Brady from 100 Gecs, the song is fun yet abrasive. With clever lyrics such as “In the scene I make you scream/ I’m the liquid to your dream/ I’m the leader of your team/ I’m the sun and you’re the bee,” GFOTY walks the line between comedic and earnest songwriting near-perfectly. Dylan Brady’s distinctively harsh approach to production combined with GFOTY’s humorous and lighthearted style is a match made in heaven, making for a fantastic listen.

At other turns, GFOTY writes in a far more personal manner than she ever has before. The album features love songs that take a much less comical, surreal approach to their production, rather trading such ethos for one of resolute emotion. On “Cold Play,” she sings, “Each time I see you/ It’s like we met for the very first time/ Small as an angel/ I want no other kind of guy.” Dialing back the typical autotune found on almost every other one of GFOTY’s tracks and being backed by only a piano, the song makes for an incredibly emotional listening experience that is unlike any other track she has created.

“Kooks Song” takes a similar lyrical approach, pairing romanticism this time with a typical GFOTY production. Coupled with harsh synths and a distorted bass, GFOTY sings “Everything that I know/ Was from something you taught me/ I guess this is something to show/ Since the minute you caught me.” The complex arrangements on the track are intermittently interrupted by sounds of clown horns and low-pitched voices seemingly plucked from Mortal Kombat, adding a humorous tone around the song’s wholeheartedness.

GFOTY had extremely large shoes to fill, and on Femmedorm, she succeeds. Despite diving deep into topics ranging from falling in love to getting drunk on the beach, the album stays completely cohesive. With unique production, thoughtful lyricism and catchy hooks, it was unquestionably created with care and is without a doubt worth a listen. Skillfully balancing the relatable with the surreal and the hilarious with the sincere, Femmedorm is cerebral and eye-catching, but most importantly, fun.

Contact Ian Fredrickson at [email protected].