Blondshell – Blondshell

Add to the wide field of 'sad girl pop' the sad rock world-weariness of Sabrina Teitelbaum, a.k.a. Blondshell, on her self-titled debut....
Blondshell : Blondshell
8.1 Partisan
Blondshell : Blondshell

‘Sad girl pop’ is all these rage these days (or at least the term is, among music writers…), but the genre title, like all genre titles, belies the width of its sound, from the giant out-and-out pop of Taylor Swift to the crushing experiences of Phoebe Bridgers (to the introspective naturalism of when Swift worked with the guys from sad dads, The National). Just look at the range in the three-headed sad girl supergroup boygenius on the record (QRO review). Add to all of that the sad rock world-weariness of Sabrina Teitelbaum, a.k.a. Blondshell, on her self-titled debut.

This is an album that starts with a song about “Veronica Mars”, the aughts cult-classic TV show from a defunct network that launched Kristen Bell, not to mention a fan-funded movie and streaming revival (even if the latter’s ending sucked…). Clearly ahead of its time, ‘Buffy, the Private Investigator’ has come to signify a certain type of modern feminism that is unabashed in the heroine’s strengths & weaknesses – and question if those weaknesses are really strengths (and vice-versa). Indeed, Teitelbaum calls herself out numerous times on Blondshell, from being resigned to getting back together with her toxic ex on “Sepsis”, to knowing that she has to leave her loved one for her own good because the other couldn’t stay “Sober Together”. Yet this is no cry Buffy, as there’s also the super-powerful call out in anger (and violence) at the man who gets away with his crimes, “Salad”.

As the “Mars” line, “Logan’s a dick / I’m learning that’s hot” puts it succinctly, sad girl music is about being honest with the outside world and within yourself, contradictions and all, even if that makes you sad. As Blondshell on Blondshell, Sabrina Teitelbaum ups the guitar shred for her own brand of sad girl rock.

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