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SPIN Essentials

Review: ‘Colleen Green’ Wants to Be Your Joey Ramone on Her New EP

colleen green, colleen green ep, review
SPIN Rating: 8 of 10
Release Date: May 13, 2016
Label: Infinity Cat

Green: It’s a color, a tea, envy, renewal, ganja. It’s also Colleen Green, the regally cool 31-year-old musician who never takes off her sunglasses and gives the impression that she probably tours out of a backpack. She has a guitar, a drum machine, and a new self-titled cassette tape that follows up last year’s angst-ridden I Want to Grow Up. Yes, it only has six songs and no, it doesn’t have a name of its own. You should listen to it anyway.

The Colleen Green of I Want to Grow Up was going through some s**t: grinding her teeth, fighting the urge to get high, worrying about being unlovable. But Colleen Green is sunny even when its author is sad. Winking opener “U Coulda Been an A” hands a prospective lover a failing report card: “U coulda been an A / But you’d rather be a D / Oh bay-B / Why can’t you C,” Green rhymes, fingers squeaking noisily over her guitar strings as she mines riffs from the midpoint between the Breeders and Blink-182. Whoever booked Feist to sing “1, 2, 3, 4” on Sesame Street in 2008 needs to get Green on the phone yesterday.

Green calls her current sound “Ramones-core,” and indeed you’ll do a mental double-take when the first words of bouncy “Cold Shoulder” aren’t “Hey, ho / Let’s go.” The EP’s newfound love of doubled lead guitars only contributes to the nostalgia, and Green’s shtick is even more hyper-self-aware than usual as she closes a verse with the line, “Realization nothing changes ever.” But that’s the crux of her pop appeal: ultra-recognizable elements, composed with the perfect ratio of personality and restraint. Sure, she could record live drums, but isn’t it more satisfying to hear the machine snapping away with a delivery as dry as Green’s own?

Many a band, even good ones, have coughed up a six-track throwaway between tours. This is not that. What Colleen Green lacks in album-length cohesion, it more than makes up for by being totally comprised of enjoyable moments. “U Coulda Been an A” is a standout; so is “Here It Comes,” an anticipation-filled ditty about how Green feels riding public transit (she likes it almost as much as Jonathan Richman does). The ice-cold “Between the Lines” dismisses a hopeful suitor with a savage, “You’re just a jar of jelly with a popped-up lid.”

The sincerest moment of all is “Green My Eyes,” a rare self-love song about overcoming jealousy. Green has a monster within her, and the green-eyed strength to tame it: “Green my eyes so I can see / A picture that is complete / Colorful view I choose to perceive.” Emotional freedom, toasty-warm guitars, a light frosting of reverb: It’s the sound of the self-help Green sought on I Want to Grow Up coming to fruition. Nihilism is over, spring is sprung, the world is dank and new. Moments like “Green My Eyes” are what make Colleen Green 420x more precious than the next Dandy Warhol with a deadpan persona and shades. She gets us.