Let me be clear: I’ve been waiting for Shygirl to release a debut album for three years.
I remember attending my second year of college and wandering around Rome listening to the songs from her EP ALIAS. She arose my curiosity again in 2020 with her long music video BLU, featuring, among older tracks, her new song “BDE” with slowthai, which ended up being my most listened-to song of the year (oops!).
In May 2022, Shygirl (aka Blane Muise) finally announced her debut titled Nymph with the release of “Firefly,” to which I literally jumped on the chair I was sitting on–though I don’t remember which one. At some point, I was anticipating Nymph even more than Rosalía’s MotoMaMi (I know, crazy, right?!).
And the reason why was simple: everything Shygirl was putting out was so damn appealing. From the production to the music videos to the overall aesthetic of the visual material, everything seemed extremely well thought-through, extremely well put together–and you know me, I’m a sucker for visuals–so there’s no way I wasn’t anticipating this release like holy shit.
But without any further ado, let’s dig into this effort that I, like many others I’m sure, have been waiting for so long, shall we?
Produced by some of her long-term collaborators like Sega Bodega and Mura Masa, the album is relatively short: a mere 30 minutes of super seductive electro-pop bangers that she’s been cleverly and greedily teasing over the past few months. Let’s start with the leading singles.
“Firefly” didn’t necessarily catch my attention at first. I could see it as the soundtrack of a Japanese anime with its light and digestible vocals, but it wasn’t a game-changer for me. It even reminded me of something I had already heard before.
“Come For Me,” on the other hand, definitely hyped me up: produced by no less than Arca, the track features some of the Venezuelan producer’s signature elements, like disturbing sounds and vocal distortions, that made me think of a new kind of creature being born.
Above all, Shygirl is a sexual being: like the title Nymph suggests, the artist wants to express her sexuality, and she does so every time she has the chance with lines like “My only desire is to see your body over me / My only desire is to feel you rippling under me.”
Just like “Firefly,” “Coochie (a bedtime story)” didn’t impress me much if not for the explicit nature of the title. “Nike,” arguably my favorite single out of the four, opens with an immaculate, precise beat that reminds me of “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift.
Lastly, just a few days before the album dropped, Shygirl released the sex positive anthem “Shlut:” Shygirl doesn’t hold her dominant attitude back when singing “Woke up feelin’ like a slut, yeah, I like that / Hit a couple guys, they concur, I’m a bad bitch.” The official video of the track gives out strong “Blue Jeans” vibes as they’re both shot around water and feature hot male models of which we are in desperate need nowadays.
Speaking of the other tracks, “Little Bit” is the perfect follow-up to “Shlut:” just like her other song “SLIME,” it has that punch, that aggressiveness that perfectly matches the sensuality of the previous track. “Woe” opens the album stating Shygirl’s artistic ambitions: “I can have it all but I’m never satisfied” and “Bitches pree me all time / Do they even know what it’s like this high?” showing her desire to reach even higher.
The energy of the album starts declining after “Coochie (a bedtime story):” except for “Nike,” the second half of the album is incredibly insipid and emotionless, nothing like the tracks we’ve listened to so far. “Poison,” particularly, has a weird melodic line playing throughout the song that reminds me of some popular Italian songs I was forced to listen to growing up (ew!). Still, Nymph ends on a high note with “Missin u” and “Wildfire,” a low-key yet romantic epilogue to Shygirl’s vortex of passive-aggressiveness and sensuality.
So there you have it. We finally got to listen to Shygirl’s first full-length artistic effort after years of EPs and singles that, although sounding very promising, led to nothing bigger. But now, we finally got the answers to our questions.
Questions like, was Nymph worth the wait? Absolutely. Will Shygirl dethrone Rosalía in my Albums of the Year list? Probably not.