Music Reviews

Miss Grit Impostor

(self-released) Rating - 8/10

There are few feelings that can be as crippling to a creative drive as self-doubt. If you don’t think you deserve the achievements you’ve received, it’s easy to spiral into a suffocating fog of overthinking your every move. For Margaret Sohn, the success that came with her debut EP Talk Talk as Miss Grit gave her a bad case of impostor syndrome about her art. Her lifelong experience growing up as a half-Korean woman in the Michigan suburbs only compounded her insecurity. But rather than succumb to it, Sohn tackles those sensations head-on in her purgative, fantastic Impostor—an EP that turns her pain and worry into powerful songs.

Sohn cuts right through the dual impostor syndromes towards her career and racial identity on the stunning Blonde. “I wish I was blonde,” she sings over spidery guitar, the notes ringing out into the ether. But the song soon builds into a sound of sawing circuitry, her instrument a mechanical, musical whirr. Sohn repeatedly yells out, “I’ve got nothing to say,” turning writer’s block into a rallying cry. She punctuates that moment with a blistering guitar solo that expresses as much as her lyrics. 

The title track is just as furious, with guitar squeals spiking around her lilting vocals and a bright synth melody offering a lovely counter. “I can’t quite smile/I did not win this prize of mine,” Sohn sings, seeming to reject the accolades. Her guitar work reflects her struggle with grungy chords growing louder and louder like an argument inside her head, only to close with an acoustic rhythm and a plead to “let me smile.” It’s one of those tracks that takes you on a cathartic journey both lyrically and musically. 

Part of what makes impostor syndrome even more difficult for an artist like Sohn is the need to promote your creative work—all the hobnobbing that comes with the territory can deepen feelings of unworthiness. Sohn takes on this topic through Buy The Banter and Dark Side of the Party. On the former—over a sludgy, Queens of the Stone Age-style riff with slamming drums—her voice sinks into the earth as she states, “Play their game or you’ll dissolve to nothing/Cause you’re nothing.” The latter tune exposes the shallowness and backstabbing beneath the smiles at business-related social gatherings. Sohn’s guitar and synth line face off like she’s being pulled between playing along and storming out. 

While most of the tunes on Impostor mix bold, dynamic shreddage with feather-light, fragile notes, Grow Up To brings another layer to her playing. A sliding, fuzzed-out riff repeats until a propulsive, almost danceable drumbeat kicks in, turning the guitar towards a muscular harmonic tone that follows her vocals. Just when you think the track is going to erupt, it breezes into a groovy centerpiece that will make it impossible for you to sit still. 

While she may feel unmoored, Sohn arrives on Impostor with a fully-formed musical identity, one that she’s already comfortable stretching out. Her guitar playing manages to emote both through its airy arpeggios and distorted riffs, like holding a frozen grin with turmoil in your eyes. It’s a strong step forward for an artist who’s just getting started. Far from being an impostor, Miss Grit is the real deal.