Music Reviews
Crush on Me

Sir Babygirl Crush on Me

(Father/Daughter Records) Rating - 8/10

Every year, there are a few releases that capture the zeitgeist of a culture or society. If someone from the past asked you for an album that represented 2019, Crush On Me by Sir Babygirl should be one of your first picks. Kelsie Hogue’s debut album is a whirlwind of theatrical pop, rockstar attitude and genre-vaporizing mashups. She makes elation out of trauma. Every track confidently embraces her non-binary, queer nature. And it’s an absolute blast from beginning to end.

All of those qualities stand out on Flirting With Her, with fuses a club beat with distorted, agitated guitar riffs. Hogue displays the multitude of clashing feelings that surface when you start falling for a woman. “Flirting with her is like losing your keys/What the fuck is going on with me?” she sings. As the track closes, different voices overlap, the audible equivalent of overthinking how to respond to a text from your crush. Cheerleader shows the darker side of that same flirting, where societal pressures keep it hidden under the surface: “Our dirty little secret in the bathroom stall/Everybody wants to watch the cheerleader fall.”

Inner turmoil appears again on Haunted House and Everyone Is a Bad Friend, reliving some trauma in Hogue’s life. On the former, over the heavy bounce of synths and crackling pop production, she loses herself in a self-destructive collapse at a party. She gets across that feeling when you’re desperate and upset enough to madly want to burn it all down. Hogue chaotically shouts out, “I can't wait/To lose all my friends in one night/ I can't wait/To ruin the rest of my life.” The latter slows things down with a deep-reverb guitar and Hogue calling out both false friendships and her self-imposed isolation.

Both the first and last songs serve as bookends to a journey found on the rest of Crush On Me. Heels, one of the most euphoric songs in years, finds Hogue proudly declaring her self-transformation and acceptance, moving past the struggles found elsewhere on the record. Over bubbling percussion and handclaps, she sings, “You don't know me anymore/I changed my hair!/I changed my hair!/I changed my hair!” and follows it with a wordless shout of pure joy. Crush on Me (Outro) is a quick hit of bubblegum pop, with twinkling keyboards and a spoken-word segment where Hogue expresses her self-love like she’s telling a friend about a high school infatuation. The record ends with her stating, “I do have a good feeling about this one.”

Anyone who listens to Crush On Me will agree with that closing sentiment. With some of the most outstandingly energetic and powerful pop songs in recent memory, it’s almost criminal that Sir Babygirl isn’t at the top of the charts. She’s made an album for embracing yourself, your past and whatever lies ahead, and having fun while doing so. Her music doesn’t sound like the future. Even better, it sounds like the present.