Back in November, my friend and colleague Chris DeVille wrote a Week In Pop column about Taylor Gayle Rutherford, a 17-year-old Nashville-based singer who’d just come out with a big honking monster of a breakup song called “abcdefu.” Rutherford, who records as just plain Gayle, is a creature of the music industry; she’s a protege of ex-American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, and she made “abcdefu” with a team of professionals. But the song itself is a beautifully bratty piece of music; I knew I was hearing something special when Gayle was complaining about “your Craigslist couch and the way your voice sounds.”
When Chris wrote that column, “abcdefu” hadn’t yet cracked the Hot 100. Since then, the song has become an actual smash, and Gayle has become the first real prospective star to emerge in the way of Olivia Rodrigo, kind of like how Olivia Rodrigo emerged in the wake of Taylor Swift and Paramore. Right now, “abcdefu” sits at #4 on the Hot 100. Last week, it was #3. There’s more where that came from. Today, Gayle has released her debut EP, which has an unbearably pretentious title — a study of the human experience volume one — but which is nevertheless full of fun, well-constructed teen-pop jams.
The songs on Gayle’s debut EP all fit the basic model of “abcdefu.” They’re pissed-off snarls from a kid who’s mostly mad at exes but also, by extension, the world. The EP doesn’t play as a quickie cash-in on a big hit, though. All six of the tracks sound like potential hits; I’m especially partial to the self-explanatory “ur just horny.” This music is probably going to seem trite and obnoxious to a significant chunk of the Stereogum readership, but if you fuck with teen-pop at all, you might want to give it a shot. You can hear it below.
a study of the human experience volume one is out now on Atlantic.