Thursday, February 9, 2023

Review: Let Her Burn • Rebecca Black

“Multiple versions of the same person, all of them hurt. Don’t think the performance is working,” Rebecca Black laments on “Performer.” The guitar-led ballad closes a 30-minute flash-bang of a debut record, Let Her Burn, that rushes through its track-list with one thing to prove: Rebecca Black is a performer. And it does so successfully: Pulling out unexpectedly dynamic songwriting and wrapping herself in metallic production, Black wedges herself into the motherboard of hyperpop music and translates the genre through a dance-rock lens.

Whether she's confronting herself, an ex, or society at large, Black keeps the record sharp and to the point. Across many of the album’s tracks, gurgling bass, abrasive industrial beats, and a slurred whisper converge into an unstoppable storm. On “Destroy Me,” a hyperactive beat cuts up a heavyweight electric guitar as Black makes a masochistic plea: “Watch me while I crash and burn again and again. Go ahead, destroy me.” Bass carbonates into bubbling dance grooves on white-hot highlights “Crumbs” and “Misery Loves Company” without shaking the album’s dark mechanical underpinnings. 

The music on Let Her Burn carries itself with inherent anger, encasing emotions in an overheated electronic ecosystem of synthesized instruments and electric guitars. The production choices are punchy and stand in stark contrast to Black’s comfort in a soft soprano range, but the dichotomy is ultimately part of the point: The music commands our attention for the overdue statement of a woman who was placed on the cross unjustly and ridiculed on a global scale. But the joke's on all of us: We let her burn, and now she's risen from the ashes.

Oh yeah, did I mention she’s that Rebecca Black? Yes, that one. Not bad, right?

Let Her Burn is available now as an independent release.

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