They say the perfect length for a pop song is 3 minutes. For PinkPantheress, on debut mixtape ‘To Hell With It’, the perfect length is way under that. Finding fame on TikTok might have something to do with it. But this isn’t a sign of yet another marketing department trying to put together the next viral superstar. PinkPantheress feels genuine in a way that only someone brought up on a diet of emo and jungle can. The video for the Mura Masa-produced ‘Just For Me’ looks like an early-00s Taking Back Sunday video, while the track sits closer to Artful Dodger. And her breakout status feels genuine too. Her impressive ear for catchy melodies is all over this short-but-sharp mixtape. Hit ‘Break It Off’ turns Adam F’s classic ‘Circles’ into a tale of late-night yearning. ‘Reason’ beautifully uses more drum and bass beats to capture her restless, spiralling mindstate. Elsewhere, she wields UKG nostalgia like a weapon to bring you into her world of possibility and missed opportunity, like on ‘Pain’, which brings to mind playing Sweet Female Attitude’s ‘Flowers’ on shit speakers. While it all seems wistful at first listen, there’s healing in among the tales of obsession and hopelessness, delivered like 3am voice notes. Delving into the same Gen Z minutiae that Olivia Rodrigo did on ‘Sour’, “Did you ever want me? / No worries if not”, she laments over a Noah “40” Shebib-inspired beat on ‘All My Friends Know’. ‘To Hell With It’ is a heady mix of ’00s genres and references that only seem to work together because it’s delivered with just the right amount of earnestness. PinkPantheress’ viral success is much more than one created by an algorithm. As this mixtape shows, it’s driven by pure talent and charm.
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