Album Review: Glüme – The Internet

[Italians Do It Better; 2021]

Glüme makes music for somewhere we’ve yet to be, perhaps somewhere we’re simply unable to go. To say the least, she boasts an arresting gaze: there’s surely no way more tiresome to begin a reflection on a woman’s music than to reflect on her appearance, but when it comes to The Internet, that gaze is inescapable. It seems to follow you across the album’s length, somehow transmitting through song itself.

Born and raised, it seems by way of fate, in L.A., Glüme began her career as a child actress, but felt ultimately, undeniably compelled towards music. It wasn’t an easy road. She’s long struggled with her health, with autoimmune issues gradually compounding into a heart disease known as Prinzmetal.

It left her with the feeling that she simply wasn’t meant for his world, both as a matter of survival and consciousness. This has left an indelible effect on her music, with songs seeming to beam in some greater truth from somewhere far away and just out of reach. Comparisons have been made to Marilyn Monroe, and even beyond the resemblance of the two, it’s a justified claim: The Internet, and Glüme herself, feel trapped within some Hollywood ghost story, taking the listener with them into a beautiful fever dream of glitz and terror.

This isn’t to call Glüme inhuman, to the contrary, her songs often mine the personal so explicitly as to spill over into the universal. When she sings, “I’m scared that I might die again,” on “Nervous Breakdown”, the fear is palpable, surely more real for her than for the vast majority of us. Nonetheless, it’s easy to tap into that tense anxiety through fears of our own. It’s a song for those crippling moments, when we fall into bed with the sudden, inescapable thought hitting us: ‘what am I going to do?’ Few artists today better present existential dread as silken, glamorous pop.

The music behind her supports the feeling. Largely DIY blips and echoes, the likes of “Crushed Velvet” veritably throb with pulsating synths and swirling textures. Highlight “Get Low”, meanwhile, feels akin to dancing in a crumbling building as it hurtles towards the dirt, finding joy in letting go to the unavoidable.

Glüme treats every moment of The Internet as if it might be her last chance to get out the thoughts within. It’s catharsis and fright at once, blended into such a dominant, overarching mixture that one ceases being able to note the distinction between the two. When she intones, “I am not whispering: it’s a scream,” on “Body”, you know damn well she means it. Seamlessly blending the mystery and Hollywood enchantment of Lana del Rey with the majesty and sprawling, open emotion of Kate Bush, Glüme has arrived at near mystic shores of her own unique experience. It’s no wonder she’s found a home on Italians Do It Better. She’s twisted fragility into something powerful, and The Internet is her indisputable, ever-pained triumph.