Since the release of her single “Perdida” in 2018, Irish singer Jessica Smyth, AKA Biig Piig, has gained international acclaim with her rosy, lightweight music that mixes pop with electronic and hip-hop influences. Her debut mixtape “Bubblegum” is a celebration of fun, but also an invitation to engage in quiet self-reflection. About her record, Smyth herself said “Bubblegum is sweet and nice to look at, but it’s sticky. I like the innocence, but was drawn to the texture — balloony, elastic, stretchy. And it bursts, too. That’s what the tape felt like.”
Nice but sticky, elastic but fragile. Well yes, a running thread in the tape’s themes is duality – how joy is intrinsically linked to sorrow, love to selfishness, lightness to tension. Yet isn’t that what makes life (and a thick piece of gum that inflates into a light bubble) so thrilling after all?
Her song “Ghosting” gives quite a telling example of this duality. Smyth sings about the loneliness that comes with tasting freedom, roaming the streets (of Los Angeles, in her case) without the possibility of bumping into someone you know. It’s great to be anonymous, no one’s there to judge. But when does freedom get too lonely?
Moving away from self-reflection, the smashing “Kerosene” will propel you into its energetic funk-reminiscent vibes, weaving through high-pitched and electrifying vocals. It’s the song you want to “do cardio, take a video / Make a star of [yourself]” on. Yet, it also warns you that fun can equally be self-destructive (you know, when you’re craving kerosene or other unhealthy substances?).
Listening to “This Is What They Meant”, you may recognize that feeling of being engrossed in a relationship (lucky you!), forgetting everything that exists around you. Biig Piig accurately words this blissful tendency to selfishness:
Yeah I’m all in and I don’t mind,
I don’t care about tomorrow
This is what they meant when they said
That love can be selfish, I couldn’t help it
Aside from great content, the mixtape will delight your body and mind thanks to its flawless production – “Only One,” “Liquorice” and “In the Dark” will transport you into dreamy introspection with their light electronic sounds, while “Picking Up” (feat. American pop singer Deb Never) will throw you into a storm of drum ‘n’ bass drops.
The limited length of the mixtape (18′) combined with the musical variety and the richness of the lyrics (sung in both English and Spanish) make it the perfect record to start the day with intensity and empowerment. The tracks resonate with being a young woman in a new environment, discovering the nature of deep relationships, while not forgetting to have fun along the way.
Biig Piig will be playing her sold out show at Botanique on 17 March (and touring through Europe the entire month). Fingers crossed we’ll see her name on some Belgian festival line ups!