The cover of Girlpool’s new album Before the World Was Big shows two Henry Darger-esque children playing God with Lego sets and tiny figures. The image and the title both immediately evoke the inherent desire to return to an ever-elusive state of comfort, control, and innocence. The songs on Before the World Was Big explore this ideal world through the eyes of Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad, whose personal narratives are subtly intertwined with the universal experience of growing up.
A new video released by Girlpool’s label, Wichita, finds the duo in their adopted home of Philadelphia performing a live version of their song “Cherry Picking”. The track arrives halfway through the record, and although Girlpool assert themselves as emotional heavy-hitters from the beginning of the record, “Cherry Picking” cements their ability to portray the beauty and strength in all situations.
The song begins with the sort of sentimental attitude displayed on the cover, the lackadaisical metaphor of “cherry picking dreams.” The focus quickly shifts to an unrequited love and the vulnerable question, “Did you ever think of me?” As the song steadily grows increasingly louder and confident, so do the lyrics. “Cause lovers turn to strangers, everyone always has to go,” the pair sings with newfound wisdom. As the song begins to show that the romance never quite worked out, a lesson is discovered. “And when it all is over, when you are there and I am here / I’ll pretend that you care that I have somehow disappeared.” The song is suddenly stripped-down as Tucker and Tividad murmur together, “It’ll make me feel better knowing you watched me like the moon / Truth is that I am working for myself and only me.” As they hit those final words, their voices unite with all their power as they proudly declare, “Yes I am picking cherries, I have a hard time staying clean,” repeating the line until they are shouting for the world to hear. When Girlpool perform “Cherry Picking” live, the crowd often screams the final words with them, not only because of their catchiness but because of their emotional relevancy. This, perhaps, is the key to Girlpool: they make the difficult parts of life feel unified rather than isolated, and whether you are screaming along at a concert or in your bedroom, you feel less alone.
Before the World Was Big is out now on Wichita Recordings.