EP Review: Uffie - 'Tokyo Love Hotel'
Former Myspace star Uffie has returned with her first collection of work since 2010 with her brand new EP ‘Tokyo Love Hotel’. She made her return on a collaboration with Charli XCX in 2017 before embarking on a slate of new singles, including the consumerist musings of latest track ‘Sadmoney’ which makes an appearance on the EP.
Despite having made her name as an online star in the late noughties, originally bursting onto the internet’s earholes in 2006, ‘Tokyo Love Hotel’ is firmly set in the sounds of 2019. Her frank, infectious songwriting feel strongly connected to contemporary bedroom pop stars like Clairo, a comparison not altogether unsurprising seeing as her early success as an artist-producer during the relative infancy of social media lay the foundation for that generation. Much like her former collaborator Charli XCX, Uffie is clearly a fascinated and astute observer of popular culture, dropping references to Swae Lee and the intoxicating hamster wheel of consumerism and beauty culture on ‘Sadmoney’ (which makes the track sound far less fun than it is).
Opener ‘Drugs’ has hints of Hannah Diamond, its sparkling PC Music-esque production underlying Uffie’s beseeching call to a loved one that “the drugs don’t love you like I do”. ‘No Regrets’ channels this in a more mainstream influenced manner, its trappy beat and vocoder sounding like an offbeat version of Post Malone as she details an aloof persona comfortable showing off their wealth but unwilling to or incapable of relating to others. Following this with ‘Sadmoney’ feels like the hungover shame that comes after the night of bravado and excess, unveiling the self-loathing underneath the emotional distance of the previous song.
Shifting from resigned to rebellious, ‘Sharpie’ is an acid tongued breakup anthem with EDM pop drops, possibly the most Radio 1 friendly track of the record. Its defiant energy wouldn’t feel out of place on a Tove Lo song, as she spits “you’ve made your bed now you sleep in it alone”. ‘Papercuts’ has a delightfully squelchy syncopated bassline as she taunts her lover that “your little paper cuts, don’t cut deep enough, push the knife deeper, show me that you mean it”. It’s a smart bop with an undeniably attractive mean streak.
Thinks take a more pensive turn on ‘My Heart’, reminiscent of the more downtempo parts of Robyn’s repertoire, as she questions her own self-destructive tendencies wondering “how come being such a sad girl makes me want to be a bad girl?”. Her turn of phrase is simple but never feels simplistic, instead providing a confessional directness that allows you to pick up on every word and sentiment without hiding behind extended metaphors.
Closer ‘Nathaniel’ is an expansive, cinematic piece of electro pop that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Skins opening montage. Desperately attempting to hold onto a relationship even as it’s imploding, she proclaims “I don’t want to hurt you, I just want to love you”.
‘Tokyo Love Hotel’ is an accomplished piece of work that demonstrates why it’s such a pleasure to have Uffie’s updated brand of off-kilter pop back. Astute and joyful, sophisticated and confessional, as Robyn has proved before her, pop can be one of the most exciting mediums out there.
Words by Hattie Long