As a former British YouTube enthusiast, Orla Gartland was a formative part of my lockdown experience. Could I relate to being a lost, directionless 26-year-old with crippling self-doubt? Well, not really. I was 16 and had exactly one romantic(ish) experience under my belt. However! I’ve always had a talent for inserting myself into situations or scenarios that don’t apply to me. In terms of listening to music, it’s one of my favourite hobbies. Having just left my ‘dodie’ phase, filled with bad skin, ukuleles and girls that didn’t like me back, I was ready to stop chasing my ideas of love and become absorbed into my own problems!
Although I had previously been a casual listener of most of her EPs, such as ‘Why Am I Like This?’ and ‘Freckle Season’, it was Gartland’s first album ‘Woman on the Internet’ which I fell in love with. It had a vastly different sound compared to what I had listened to before (emo or pure folk – no in-between), and although I couldn’t specifically relate to anything in the lyrics; the overarching themes of navigating modern life and being online certainly resonated with me (I was very antisocial in high school).
Some of my favourite tracks included ‘Codependency’, a punchy, frustrated song about being lost in the depths of a relationship. My personal favourite part of the song is the very end, when the first line of the song gets shouted back at you by many Orla Gartlands (and potentially her friends). I can’t explain why but I’ll be sure to tell you if I figure it out – I’m fairly sure I don’t have a thing for choruses. Another one of my most listened to songs from the album is ‘Madison’. This is a more acoustic track about longing for your ex-therapist to explain your life for you – a surprisingly relatable issue among Gartland’s audience. As an angsty teenager who pretended to hate her mum, ‘I suppose I could be less of a dick’ was probably the lyric that I related most with (disclaimer: I love you mum).
However, my top track from ‘Woman on the Internet’ has to be ‘Zombie!’. From the chorus melody to the introductory percussion, to the weirdly bright guitar, to Gartland’s growly ‘I hate it’, it’s just an absolute chef’s kiss of a song! Although I would have appreciated the adrenaline filled energy to continue all the way to the end of the song, most of the track is so good that I am happy enough to overlook this. I would absolutely recommend listening to the live version of ‘Zombie!’ recorded at Middle Farm Studios, as, in my opinion, the vibes are only amplified.
So! You want to get over the colour yellow? You want to move on from the formative lesbian experience you had when you were 15-17? Try Orla Gartland, an introspective woman with a guitar!