Swedish-British duo Girl Crush knows a thing or two about balance. Its newest single, “Radio Silence,” walks many tightropes. There’s the line between upbeat, vibrant, high-sheen production and EDM’s nails-on-chalkboard digital surges. Between enticing, nasal, gorgeous singing and sneering, giving-it-all-too-much belting. Insightful and cloying lyrical material.
Every time, Girl Crush is on the right side of the line. Within its first several seconds, “Radio Silence” basks in a world of airy, Majestic Casual-core synthetic pops, palm-muted guitar notes plucked in alternating sixteenth and eight notes, and peripheral oohing-aahing synths. This combination of elements tiptoes dangerously close to that obnoxious EDM frat-bro territory, but in the nimble, delicate hands of Girl Crush, this sound is instead gorgeous and inviting.
Swedish frontperson Ottilia Kjulsten keeps the allure going with her voice, which would fit in the mainstream vision for dance music if her singing weren’t so controlled and restrained. When she sings, she sounds both like she’s soaring and at ease, resulting in a vocal line that acts like a cherry on top of the music’s metaphorical ice cream cake (really, the best kind of cake, haters be damned). And all this charm arrives without even hearing what she’s saying.
The lyrical content of “Radio Silence” is more likely to fully emerge after two or three listens. Kjulsten’s voice is so captivating, and her Girl Crush partner David Sugar’s production is so considered, that her tale of being ghosted doesn’t immediately come to the forefront. “Why do you give me radio silence? Why do I never hear from you?” begins the chorus, which uses a common idiom to make a longtime pop trope – a failed love – appear utterly modern, the sort of phenomenon that would be much more difficult to come by without the communication barriers that texting erects.
Kjulsten details the horrors of being ghosted without any melodrama. She’s got such a level head that she acknowledges her own role in the cycle of ghosting: “[‘Radio Silence’ is] about how we interact with media today, we demand instant response from everything,” she says in a press release. “If someone doesn’t get back to us within a minute we freak out.” With “Radio Silence,” though, everything is immediate.