Words by: Matthew Griffiths
Maggie Lindemann has had quite the journey since her debut hit, but her authenticity has remained throughout.
It’s been 4 years since Maggie Lindemann dropped her hit single, “Pretty Girl”. It was a catchy girl-power Pop anthem, peaking at #8 on the UK Singles Chart. The music video dropped 5 months later, in which Maggie donned a white/flame coloured biker jacket, gold eye shadow and sparkly pink lip gloss.
Today, Maggie Lindemann looks and sounds remarkably different. Throughout 2020, she dropped four singles with a whole new sound; “Knife Under My Pillow”, “Gaslight!”, “Scissorhands” and “Loner” were followed by her January 2021 release of her debut EP, PARANOIA.
So how and when did this audiovisual transformation take place? Is this a new development in the persona of Maggie Lindemann, or is she finally showing us her true colours (or lack of)?
In an interview on the Zach Sang Show, co-host Dan Zolot confessed that this sound was something he believed she should’ve always had been making. When asked why it took her so long to get to this sound, Maggie said:
“When I first started making music, I was just really young, and I didn’t really know what kind of music I wanted to make, I just knew I wanted to make music…with Pretty Girl, it blew up so big obviously, and then from a label’s perspective they want you to continue with that – cause obviously it makes money…for a while it was kinda this like, internal battle with ‘do I wanna do what I actually wanna do or do I wanna make money and like, know that I’m gonna be successful and be comfortable?’…eventually it just got to the point where I couldn’t do that any more and I just wasn’t having fun, and it just didn’t feel like me, and it felt like I was like, lying to people – so I was like, ‘alright – I’m gonna do this.” (7:25)
It can be difficult to suddenly change our style without unwanted remarks from others. Maggie anticipated this, and admitted that despite resonating with her old lyrics, the look needed to change –
“Some of the lyrics, I’m like – yeah that was totally me at the time, but the whole pink, and all that stuff was like someone that I was trying to be, and like, play this role…it definitely started with my style like, I started dressing the way I wanted…I knew people would be like, ‘Oh, following trends’, or ‘you changed, are you okay? Is something going on?’” (12:03)
When Maggie’s music was in its early days, her fans would compare her to other Pop acts like Demi Lovato, Sabrina Carpenter (who Maggie toured with) and especially Madison Beer.
Strangely, newcomers to her music at the time were primarily Rock fans. They seemed to be able to see past the Pop vibe and appreciate her music, even back then when it wasn’t at all Rock. Even though she wasn’t making Pop-Punk at the time, it’s as if some of her more Rock influences subtly shone in her old music.
Zach Sang used the word “manic”(9:00) to describe the album, as it features extremes of sound and genre. On the song “GASLIGHT!” we hear screaming, and on “Love Songs” we hear, well…the opposite (it’s very gentle).
Instead of sticking to one sound on her first project, Maggie Lindemann decided to give us “a walkthrough of her brain”. She shared that she has not been able to “stick with one thing at all” in her life. (9:45)
This honesty is admirable, and it really shines throughout PARANOIA, as a vulnerable yet powerful musical commentary on one young woman’s mental health while growing up and navigating a career in Los Angeles.