"how to stop hating urself (pt.1)" ranking and review of key songs
by Mackenzie Beem
Liv Marsico, known by her stage name, phem, is best known for her collaborative work with artists like Machine Gun Kelly and iann dior. She has an alternative pop sound and a neon grunge aesthetic. What drew me into her music is her incredibly blunt and relatable lyricism. Her song "Sorry Mama" with Machine Gun Kelly which discusses coming to terms with your sexuality was the first of hers I had heard, and it immediately drew me in. Her lyrics usually revolve around societal standards, mental illness, and romance which are typical for both alternative and pop music. I’ve ranked each song based on general lyricism, style, and overall musicality. Because phem’s lyricism is one of the most impressive aspects of her music I also included a standout lyric for each song.
"useless" is a very short song. It overall represents phem’s style but is leaning more on the emo side with an almost muted sound. This song has the creepy vibes of a horror film about an unhealthy relationship. I don’t hate "useless" but it’s not being added to any of the playlists.
Standout lyric: “I should use less words, you sound a lot smarter when you don’t speak”
If you’re looking for a song with outer space reminiscent music then "stfu" is for you. This song is about a deep desire for independence and a craving for having your voice accepted. "stfu’s" main flaw is the repetitiveness. It’s good to listen to every once in a while but definitely not a daily play.
Standout lyric: “I keep biting a hole in my cheek cause you get sad when I speak”
#3: suxker punch
As soon as you press play "suxker punch" hits you with a soft and acoustic sound. This song is even shorter than "useless", which I didn’t even realize was possible. phem’s voice makes this sad love song remind me of a something by a female Death Cab for Cutie. It also includes incredibly satisfying background harmonies.
Standout lyric: “You’re the sucker to my punch”
#2: honest with iann dior
"honest" is a very upbeat and vibey song. It’s definitely more typical pop than phem’s music is usually. This song would fit well in the soundtrack of a Netflix original rom-com. The only reason this song didn’t get 1st is because iann dior doesn’t really add any originality to the song. I would actually prefer it without him.
Standout lyric: “You act so cold but I’m here for the ride”
#1: Self Control
I can play "Self Control" on repeat for hours- and I have. The distinction in tempo, overall sound, and music between each aspect of the song are what make it so addictive. The raw and literal lyrics about needing self control are incredibly relatable. This is the first song I would play to someone who had never heard phem before.
Standout lyric: “Procrastination, I’m complacent”
Overall, this album just solidified that phem is one of the most talented up and coming artists. Because of her unique and raw lyricism and overall sound that leads towards pop, I would not be surprised hearing one of these songs on the radio. Between her vocal range and intriguing lyricism, how to stop hating urself (pt 1) has become one of my favorite albums to listen to, although "useless" may not be in my que.