Maggie Lindemann refuses to corner herself in one genre.
But maybe this pop princess should.
Is “PARANOIA” bad? No. Should it be listened to more than once? Also no. Is it worth even a single listen? Probably not.
This whole record is just Lindemann screaming “I’m different!!!” directly in her listeners’ faces. But just because someone says something over and over doesn’t make it true.
It’s not that the songs are bad, although they are. It’s the fact that Lindemann put out a 20-minute EP with eight songs on it. To do some quick math, that’s about two- and-a-half minutes per song. There’s noting bad about a short song. Knowing when to stop writing and let something exist on its own is important. But it sounds like Lindemann did it out of laziness, not out of an artistic process.
Lindemann’s attempt at being uber-different left the EP with no cohesion. Each song is on its own island, with an ocean’s worth of distance between each track.
“Yeah, turn down the volume or we’re all going to go deaf,” Lindemann says on “GASLIGHT” before thrashing listeners with intense, headache-inducing screaming. There’s nothing wrong with a little screamo, as long as it’s done well. But this isn’t. It causes discomfort, not catharsis.
Then we get industrial samples (think Nine Inch Nails, but with a Nickelback filter) on “SCISSORHANDS” that sound like they’d be played at a very sketchy rave. Lindemann goes into some Sia-inspired vo- cals that don’t quite land as she sings with cool dejection.
And just when we think it couldn’t get any more confusing, we get an acoustic guitar. Like? What? How do we go from screaming to bad samples to a singer-song- writer showcase? We’re tired, Maggie. Please, just pick a genre and stick to it.
In Lindemann’s defense, the record sounds like she got super fucked over by her production team. It’s important to have people who care about an artist’s passions, but can also bring them back to Earth when their ego trip stops being cute and starts being icky.
And Lindemann’s aloofness throughout this EP doesn’t help. We actually can’t tell if she cares, or if she’s driving this schizo- phrenic record off a cliff for fun. Who’s to say?
Maybe she wasn’t ready for a full project. That would be fine! Her vocals aren’t bad, especially when she’s going full pop-punk princess. But this album is a total cluster- fuck.
Lindemann has been putting out singles for six years. In an interview with Billboard, Lindemann said that she was waiting to put out a full project until she figured out her sound. But she didn’t. Instead, we got a grab-bag full of songs that don’t go together and make us uncomfortable when listening to the album front-to-back.
Lindemann has the potential to be a great artist. But in order to do that, she needs to figure out her sound on her own. And in the meantime, she shouldn’t subject listeners to records that don’t work and reek of uncertainty.