Remi Wolf’s latest EP ‘I’m Allergic to Dogs’ doesn’t take itself too seriously
California’s REMI WOLF has had a more interesting introduction into the music world than most. Originally training to be a skier in the Junior Olympics, the pop artist switched over to music, going on to audition for 2017 American Idol with MARVIN GAYES’ ‘Let’s Get It On’ at age 17. From there she studied at USC Thornton School of Music and, in the process, created the much-loved bubblegum pop she’s known for today. However, bubblegum pop is not the only genre Wolf dabbles in. In fact she refers to her music as ‘soup’: a bit of this, a bit of that. With influences including artists with huge, raw voices like Michael McDonald, Chaka Kahn and Janis Joplin, as well as funk, dance, and soul sensations like Talking Heads, Stevie Wonder, Tom Tom Club and Prince — it’s easy to see why.
Her latest release, I’m Allergic to Dogs, siphons this collection of sounds together to create an uplifting and summery five-track EP, which might come as a surprise given the subject matter of the songs. From complicated relationships to struggles with mental health, Wolf covers usually dark concepts with undeniable humour and brightness. These characteristics also carry over onto her corresponding music videos, made during quarantine.
“I wanted to create an alternate universe. I was super inspired by Willy Wonka, super inspired by kids and the world they create, I just wanted to replicate that energy,” she tells VFiles of her videos. And she’s done it. She’s a walking, singing Nickelodeon show, 3D scanning herself into colourful animated worlds where she’s a dancing giant in one and an army of Oompa Loompa’s in another. But she doesn’t dismiss the slight freakishness of her creations, saying, “I wanted it to be 10% disturbing, but you’re kinda into it.”
The EP seems to have the same type of energy. It begins with ‘Down the Line’, a thumping, angsty but overall catchy tune depicting a moment of spite between two friends. Next comes ‘Woo!’, a self-described “ADHD explosion of my feelings on LOVE.” Involving samples of ambulance sirens with intermittent ‘WOO!’s throughout the song, it is the EPs strongest testament to the artist’s vocal range. Third track ‘Hello Hello Hello’, is a playful little number that introduces an Afro-cuban beat as its base, and “is about a person cheating on their girlfriend with me and cheating on me with their girlfriend”. ‘Photo ID’ is the standout track off of the release. With a memorable melody, subtle drops and its manipulated vocals that give it an alien-esque quality, the track combines life moments, such as losing keys and going to the DMV with complicated personal relationships, into one catchy tune. Finally, on the RnB-influenced ‘Disco Man’, the EP comes to a close with a “70’s porny cowboys” inspired song.
At 24, Remi Wolf brings something new to the meaning of genres by not really conforming to any, yet re-inventing many. Her exaggerated, exuberant tracks seem almost self-deprecating, but in the best way possible. She translates heavy subjects lightly in her music, with a level of childlike carefreeness that is grounded by excellent production and mature themes. We can’t wait to see what’s to come and where her genre mixing goes from here.
WORDS BY JULIE FENWICK
PHOTO BY SOPHIE HUR