The decades-long fad of the manic pixie dream girl has (luckily) not been immune to recent criticism. From Charlie Kaufman’s legendary Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), to other songs critiquing the phenomenon—“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Ruined a Whole Generation of Women” takes the masculine extreme, to a fault honestly—people are now quick to reject any and all stigmas associated with the term.
Addison Grace’s new single, “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” pulls from her own experiences dealing with the toxic expectations of past partners to explain the internal struggle many women go through when they’re placed in that bubble. The track narrates a three-year journey, recognizing the unfair standards and how she has—or will—push past them: “At only 17 you made my life a manic dream,” “But now I’m turning 20 / I’m still fixing who you make me / But one day I’ll forget it even happened.” Instead of dying their hair to fit into their partner’s mold, “So I cut my hair and dyed again / To match the one inside your head,” they now realize “[They’re] more than your Ramona Flowers.”
The track’s instrumentation modernizes the charm of acoustic guitar and bright piano chords with thundering electronic beats and great percussion fills (see 2:25). Toeing the line between folksy indie pop and grandiose pop anthem, the song follows a consistent back-and-forth—beginning with subtle and warm chords quickly broken up by a distant, screamed “Manic Pixie Dream Girl!” And in a weird way, it fits perfectly with the theme of the track. The old and acoustic indie rock/pop of the 90s-referencing Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) (referenced by the music video in its entirety) feels updated, pushed decades ahead to 2021.
Gorgeous single art by Mikaela Jane.
The topics and themes of Grace’s newest track may not be breaking new ground, but the track provides a new, personal perspective that quickly draws you in. From start to finish, the story feels you with a weird nostalgia that recognizes the pitfalls of the past. But by the end, you’re in a place of personal strength and hope. Somehow, despite a year-long following of Addison Grace’s TikTok, this was my first formal introduction to their music, but I will be making several return-visits.
If you enjoyed this, don’t forget to follow me on my socials (linked at the bottom of all of my blog pages), follow Addison Grace everywhere and listen to “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” here!