Though it’s spooky season, for fans of New New Girlfriend, it’s more like Christmas. The Los Angeles duo released a two-song EP on Halloween, and it’s the best treat of all.
Hidden Time Machine is completely different than any NNG song that’s come before. It just shows that we have no idea everything that Griffin Burns and Kylen Deporter are capable of. We already knew they were masters of storytelling and rich harmonies, but let’s see what else these songs have in store for us.
Time Machine is the first song on the EP. It begins with eerie synths that sound positively alien. It sets the tone immediately. We’re in for something creepy. When Griffin begins to sing, it’s whispery, intimate, like we’re sitting around a campfire.
Our narrator weaves a tale of a tale of a man nearby who is building…something. The story goes on and it turns out to be a time machine. And whoever this man is, he saved someone and this someone has irrevocably changed the course of human history.
There’s now peace in all states / No more wars, no more hate / No more crimes, no more waste
But wait, I can hear you saying, that sounds like a good thing. Where does the spookiness come in? Is it an scary campfire setup that has a happy ending? No. Of course not. Like I’ve mentioned before, there is often a tonal shift in the latter half of New New Girlfriend’s songs. This song is no different.
We’re completely free / We can travel for years / We’re completely free / But we’re bored to tears
The true horror of this song is stagnation. The cautionary tale of utopia. Perfection can’t create a perfect life. Okay, so they’re bored, so what? That’s not really scary. Well, the last line is the clincher for this harrowing tale. See, in the chorus there’s a beautifully sung set of lyrics.
Ooh, he’s gonna build a time machine / Ooh, he said it’s time to intervene / Ooh, he’s gonna save you and me
But at the very end, “he’s gonna” turns into He’ll never save you and me. He will never…In my mind, the narrator of this song couldn’t stand the monotony of perfection that was granted by saving the “you” by the time machine builder. So he took things into his own hands. He either went back in time and killed you himself, or he went back in time just enough to stop the builder from creating the time machine. Regardless, it creates a paradox, which is scary enough. But there’s also the mystery of who “you” are in the first place. A mystery that we’ll never know the answer to.
Regardless, this song is so beautiful. The “Ooh”s in the chorus are haunting and have been stuck in my head for days. And the guitar at the end? Wow!
Hidden is the second song on the EP and it is a doozy. This is Kylen’s song all the way. The story told in this song is one that feels familiar: A love gone not-quite-right. Our narrator talking about feeling neglected and how much he needs the love of this mystery “you”. It keeps the narrator breathing. It almost seems like a normal New New Girlfriend song about relationship problems. But it’s not…is it?
The truly terrifying thing about this song is that there are two interpretations of this song: figurative and literal. If it’s figurative, then we feel bad for the narrator. Ignored by their love in public, but with just enough affection in private to string them along. But it could be literal…Literally shoved under the stairs. And both possibilities are not great.
But what really drew me into this song was trying to figure out who the narrator and who the “You” is. And I have a pretty insane
conspiracy theory. Now, there is absolutely no confirmation here, just my own ideas, and enjoyment in connecting things together, so take this with a grain of salt.
In my review of their previous song “Things That Go Without Saying”, I wondered if this girl could be Just Anyone from their song “Not Just Anyone” and in my mind, she is. You can maybe see where I’m going here, but Just Anyone happens to be this girl from Without Saying. But what if our narrator didn’t say “it” enough? That was a repeated worry in the previous song.
Furthermore, there was never any talk about her saying “it”. Which would fit a lot with the narrator feeling neglected in Hidden. The insistence on having him say “it” would also fit in with the almost out of body experience of the I will go where you want me to section. This is a person who has been so beaten down, whether literally or not. But he still wants to believe in love. Somehow I see a glass half-full.
Like I said, there’s no confirmation the songs are linked, or anything. And whether they are, or not, this song tells such a heartbreaking story. It is genuinely chilling once you realize what he’s singing about. The lyrics really pack a punch. They hurt.
It’s starting to slip / My grip on the future / And wondering if / I’m the drug or the user
That line takes my breath away every time. This is how abuse feels. Whose fault is it? Is it mine? Is it theirs? You just don’t know. And I think it’s depicted perfectly here.
This song is so scary because it’s so real. And I think it’s also cathartic to know that we’re not alone in these feelings.
Both of the songs on this EP are absolutely magnificent. They really show that this band is capable of so much versatility. But we always know that no matter how it sounds, we are guaranteed amazing songwriting.
Which one is your favorite?
If you love New New Girlfriend like I do, consider checking out their Patreon to help them keep making new songs like this one. (I was not asked to include this, or compensated for doing so. I just really love their work and want them to succeed!)