From severe heartache to taking accountability in one’s own actions, PinkPantheress guides us through all these emotions in her debut mixtape to hell with it.
To hell with it begins by reintroducing us to Pain, a song that was dropped back in June after being teased on TikTok for couple months prior. It serves as an introductory to this whimsical, unlucky in love emotion for this album, as the protagonist realises the person they thought they were destined for is just not compatible with them. This shoegaze-y track is just one of four of the songs that follow similar themes. There’s something about the opening lines;
“It’s 8 o’clock in the morning, now I’m entering my bed”
that makes this song so addicting and universally liked by everyone and it’s just so addicting.
Just for me is a track of pure nostalgia. A song that stands out so much that Giveon covered it on BBC 1Xtra Live Lounge and Central Cee remixed to his own rendition Obsessed With You. The strings and chords give flashbacks to 00s pop rock and the visuals of the music video portray that perfectly. The hook ‘When you wipe your tears do you wipe them just for me?’ just sticks and gives the whimsical feeling that is similar to the track Pain.
Out of all 10 tracks of this mixtape, All my friends know found itself being my favourite. The Afrobeat elements of the beat paired with her voice reminds us of both her African and British identities and it just makes so much sense. The song is so good that it makes you completely oblivious to the truly heart-breaking, unlucky-in-love lyrics, mentioning how she can barely leave her room due to overthinking and coming to her own conclusion that people think the worst of her. Nonetheless, All my friends know will be getting played over and over again at functions.
Despite being the final track of To hell with it, Break it off closed the mixtape with the same storytelling methods as Pain,Just for me and All my friends know. The familiar feeling of her getting stumped by all these mixed signals are leaving her with nothing but hurt. PinkPantheress’ signature ‘Hey!’ remind me of something Pharrell executes well and what he’s mentioned before about needing those little adlibs in music to truly make your music your own. We hear this a lot in music e.g. Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Ah!’ and Ariana Grande’s ‘Yuh!’– of which she started doing when Pharrell helped produce her album Sweetener. This plus the fast beat makes her sound so distinctive and enjoyable to new listeners.
A second emotion we get in to hell with it is this self-destructive, almost self-sabotaging feeling with the acknowledgement of possibility of this behaviour going too far. I must apologise portrays this, as well as taking accountability for the lies she had been telling. The chimes paired with her backing vocals make the track feel light, as if her actions were just something that should be forgiven easily and not too serious.
What would happen if she hadn’t taken responsibility for her actions? If she let all her emotions take over? Last valentines uses guitar and bass samples from Linkin Park to present going to the extremes of liking somebody so much through a rock song. It’s hard not to reminisce for the early 00s during the days most of us watched our older family members get ready for a night out while their playlists consisting of garage, DNB and rock were heard by our younger years. PinkPantheress popularising these genres amongst our generation has come in a time where fashion trends are cycling back to those early days, and it helps that she is a Gen-Z artist as it connects to younger people more.
Noticed I cried speaks from a nonchalant point of view where she actually isn’t as hurt from the breakup as her ex-partner would have thought, hence her only crying a little bit. No matter how many times we hear the drum sample, it brings so much nostalgia to the noughties that we can just allow it and enjoy the music just the same as if it’s the first time we’re coming across it. However, it’s too much babe! An extended version of this song would be perfect for the ears, but songs 2 minutes and under are a PinkPantheress signature so it gets a pass.
Towards the end of the mixtape there is some self-reflection. The odd feeling of some sort of imposter syndrome, and a series of wake-up calls happening all whilst life isn’t stopping to wait for her. Passion talks about losing interest in things she once liked but when that original interest is gone, she feels completely alone and can’t seem to find a way to move forward. This realisation is more common than ever, and she managed to capture it in just 2 minutes and 18 seconds.
I would deem Reason the perfect sad song -lyrically- that would still have people bumping shoulders in a venue crowd. The chords, garage breakbeats and melody make me feel like I’ve teleported to 2007 and I’m watching my older sister put makeup on for a night out. Catching yourself out when you’re down and realising that no severe feeling of imposter syndrome can stop all these good opportunities coming towards you in the future is something important. The popularity that PinkPantheress gained after anonymously uploading songs on TikTok is well-deserved and is helping shape the direction of music, by reintroducing the popular British noughties music elements in 2021.
The last new song we hear on To hell with it is Nineteen and as it begins, we hear an open and honest side of PinkPantheress. She talked about Nineteen in an interview with Apple Music and said:
“This is a song that stems from personal experience, and kind of the first time in any of my songs where I’m like, ‘I’m actually speaking the truth here, this actually happened to me.’”
This track was made to make us stop and listen as it strips back from using the garage and DNB samples which previously made us feel like we were running non-stop. A natural uncertainty would occur when having to deal the workload of university, work, and your passions at the ripe age of 19, and that’s this song came to be; not wanting to be judged when straying away from what people would expect from you. The strings and woodwinds towards the end finished the song nicely and we get to complete the mixtape feeling like we now know a small bit about PinkPantheress.
As the TikTok creator pablothedon said, I don’t think other people can execute or emulate PinkPantheress’ song better than she can. It’s her voice paired with the samples, instruments, and sounds that make it all work.
PinkPantheress has a way with music similar to Outkast, in that she can have people’s bodies moving to such upbeat and catchy songs that it’s only when you take a deeper look into the lyrics, you realise how dejected they are.
With the end of 2021 coming near, ‘Attracted to You’ is most likely going to be my most played PinkPantheress song on Spotify, so I was slightly surprised when I didn’t see it on the track list for this mixtape. But, nevertheless, the mixtape didn’t disappoint, and I don’t feel like it’s missing anything.
Wise words from the artist herself:
“plz understand that i don’t write sad lyrics in a(n) actual ‘sad’ way but in a studious, unlucky in love main character in a y/n x harry x zayn wattpad love story way.”
Written by Nicole Ndlovu