On January 22nd, Maggie Lindemann made the world sit down and shut up. PARANOIA holds a knife to the fears that dominate the female experience, dousing each wound in piercing alt-rock.
History has a way of repeating itself. When it comes to music, this rule isn’t so much a prophecy as it is an intrinsic formula. It has been 70 years since the seeds of rock were first sown and now, the vast web seems almost impossible to crack. Instead of reinvention, however, today’s artists are finding ways to grow by looking back.
In 2021, new age rock glues together ’90s grunge, ’00s pop punk, and ’10s indie rock with destigmatised revelations on mental health and wellbeing. All outlined in thick eyeliner, of course. Rooted in nostalgia and a self awareness that could only be born in the ’20s, Maggie Lindemann’s PARANOIA lies at the heart of the Gen Z sound.
Lindemenn does so with an eye-catching authenticity too. Her confessions are not over-saturated and her rebellion isn’t forced. Instead, PARANOIA stands at the alter and unveils once silenced fears with condemnation.
When the L.A.-based artist dropped her debut EP last week, the music industry was left slack-jawed and glassy-eyed. “What happened to our sweetheart pop sensation?” everyone asked.
As much as people love to throw around the term rebrand, this couldn’t be further from the truth for Lindemann. For those who only glossed over her breakout 2017 hit Pretty Girl, the artist could easily be filed into the glossy, remixable corner of L.A. pop. However, these are the same few who love to dismiss said genre for its repeatability and instant gratification.
If you listened closely to her lyrics, you would realise that a staunch confidence and candour lived there all along. “If I drink, if I smoke, I keep up with the guys,” she sang on the chorus. “Fuck your ribbons and your pearls – ‘Cause I’m not just a pretty girl.”
On her latest release, Lindemann paints a face onto her visceral lyrics and melts the final product down into alt-rock gold. PARANOIA makes those who underestimated her sit down and shut up.
Uprooted anxiety lives at the heart of this EP. As romanticised as it is, Los Angeles brims with darkness. And, much like the piercing city landscape, Lindemann shines a musky street light on the personal yet widespread fears that plague the cosmopolitan. Pretty Girl is the train Lindemann boarded to get to L.A., PARANOIA is what followed her.
From toxic relationships to the fear of unsafety in your own home, Lindemann’s revelations present as a subliminal social commentary. However, where her influences would find placebo in agony, the artist offers tools that only a Gen Z artist could; honesty, awareness, and acceptance.
“Got me starin’ out the window, a knife under my pillow. But it’s all inside my mind,” she sings on PARANOIA’s apocalyptic-facing opening track Knife Under My Pillow.
Glazed in acidic overtones and anthemic hooks, Lindemann’s imagery – both poetic and strikingly real – evokes the tawdry experience of city life. It is this perception that persists throughout the first half of the EP, antagonising the demons that plague her and leaving a bittersweetness in your mouth.
However, where songs like GASLIGHT! and Crash and Burn pierced through the veneer with unapologetic fervour, PARANOIA’s final four instalments find resolution under nocturnal guitar and welcoming textures. Whether intentional, the aim of this EP was twofold; break the legacy left by Pretty Girl and instate the singer as alt-rock’s newest strength.
And that Lindemann does, ascending to new heights of genre and lyrical empathy. PARANOIA was always a vessel; the reason and the resolution. The singer stared into the void, singing us a symphony of what she saw and how she overcame it.
This was always what Maggie Lindemann did best. This time, we finally listened.
PARANOIA is out now on all platforms via swixxzaudio/Caroline Australia, grab your copy here.