Mallrat – ‘Rockstar’ / Single Review

We all know how easy it is to feel awash in social media’s high turn over. Often, it seems like anger or apathy are your only two choices. Yet every time I reach the verge of deleting some apps or throwing my phone under a pile of clothes, I remember those coincidental moments that I wouldn’t be the same without.

Mallrat is the professional name of 22 year old electronic/indie pop artist Grace Shaw, from Brisbane, Australia. A few months ago she put up a couple of stories on instagram of her sitting in front of her laptop, Ableton open. The first was about how excited she was for us to hear her upcoming album and her hopes for Grammys attention, but it was the follow up to that story that really had an impact on me. For whatever reason, Mallrat felt the need to clarify that in the previous story she wasn’t being cocky, she was being confident. What a world we live in where female confidence has to be followed with justification. For further examples, see the WAP drama.

If Mallrat believes her album is Grammy worthy (and I’m ready to believe her) she should get to shout about it. But we don’t expect young women to do that. Or let them, apparently. No wonder only 21.7% artists in the music industry are women, only 12.5% of songwriters, and a horrific 2.6% of producers (according to figures shared recently by She Is The Music). We need more women being explicit about their belief in their art so that other women know that it’s okay to advocate for yourself, and we can change these grim figures. You can’t pitch something to others you don’t believe in, but all too often it is ingrained in us that we must disguise or even mute that belief in ourselves and our creations. 

I mention this here because when Mallrat’s most recent single ‘Rockstar’ came out on 30th September, the hook felt like some sort of Swiftian Easter egg after seeing those Instagram stories: ‘Some day when I’ve won all the Grammys and I’ve got my own family, I’ll forget all about you’. It’s an anthem for all the grafters and dreamers, and anybody who has decided they aren’t waiting on anyone else anymore. I can’t wait to see it live. Maybe this will be the last song of the set. Everyone will be shouting the lyrics back, swaying a bit, and getting nostalgic for a night that hasn’t quite finished yet. 

‘Rockstar’ is a great track to encapsulate the best of Mallrat and introduce her energy to anyone who hasn’t caught up yet. The verses showcase her affinity for direct lyrics, and deliver them with a low sass: ‘Don’t think you’re slick for cashing in on my magic’. That captivating fierceness comes in the scuzzy edge to the track’s sound too, something pulled to the max for an outro that begs for its own light show.

The single holds its fierceness together with vulnerability in a way that might feel familiar to anyone who heard Mallrat’s viral single ‘Charlie’, a song of lines both like ‘But when did I start taking her advice/ I raised myself and thats alright’ and ‘I’m gonna love you forever / I hope you warm up to me’. In ‘Rockstar’ Mallrat is unashamed about still wanting the dream, but she’s also unafraid of facing this instance of a dream gone wrong head on. Wistful with a steel spine seems to be something of a Mallrat trademark, and it captures the experience of being a young person in these times well. 

Having toured with artists like King Princess and Maggie Rogers, and with her (Grammy worthy) album on the way, Mallrat is an artist primed to have influence. With that sound and creative energy, I’m very, very glad about it.

Mallrat / Instagram, Twitter

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