After a short synthesizer intro and an audible clearing of a throat, the female songstress breaks into the album opener, “Lifeline,” with the rhythmic sensibility of a seasoned hip-hop appreciator but the fragility of one plagued by emotion. She croons, “I know I brought it on myself and I shouldn’t be mad ’cause the door hit my ass on the way out–is anybody else so sick of this routine?”
One part guilty pleasure electro-pop and one part raw emotion, Terror Jr’s latest release, Bop 3: The Girl Who Cried Purple, continues to not only maintain but exceed expectations for those who have been following the artist since their first single. After being teased for a few days via the group’s social media pages with the album’s cover image of a forlorn-looking blonde crying grape soda-like tears into a pair of waiting glasses, the album dropped last Friday, September 29th.
The latest in a string of continuous releases–the 13-track full-length, Bop City 2: TerrorRising was released less than four months ago–Bop 3: The Girl Who Cried Purple delves out a sub-genre of pop music also claimed by acts such as Halsey and Tove Lo, that is simultaneously both danceable and on the verge of a mental breakdown. With lyrics ranging from “get over it, I’m a comfy bitch” to a vulnerable siren call such as “I’m so terrible, come pick me off the floor” to the poetic, evocative realism of “so swallow that cigarette and follow my silhouette, and maybe you can be my last kiss,” Terror Jr has become known for its drug-fueled brand of unabashedly candid lyrics masked in undeniably catchy electronic beats and vocal manipulations.
The group, who previously lent its talents to indie-pop breakout hits such as 2014’s “Gold” by Kiiara, has implemented the millennial colloquialism “bop” (a combination of the words “pop” and “banger”) in each album’s title to self-categorize their music. However, none of them seem to contain a common thread that ties them all together but, perhaps, this is just further proof that the only people who know who Terror Jr really is and what they truly mean, is the artists themselves.
Ever since the latest album’s cover art surfaced publicly, some have speculated that the woman pictured is Lisa Vitale, a relatively unknown bedroom-musician who has barely made so much as a ripple on her Youtube channel. This is only one instance of the manic fervor that has surrounded the Los Angeles-based trio since their first single, “3 Strikes”, was featured in a promotional video for Kylie Jenner’s makeup line. After debunking an outbreak of internet rumors that surfaced, speculating that the purposefully anonymous singer was the celebrity herself, the group was projected into a frenzy of social media-fueled acclaim.
“Public announcement,” the reality television star told her followers by way of Snapchat videos in November of 2016, speaking to the camera on the verge of a teenage angst driven eye-roll, “I’m not the singer of Terror Jr. … or whatever … I don’t know if the band is just trying to get attention … but it’s not me.”
Perhaps this is a marketing ploy, fairly simple when considered for more than a few seconds, that’s being utilized to fuel the incessant questions surrounding the group’s elusive nature.
Similarly, Taylor Swift’s well-calculated publicity team recently used this technique as well, when they geared up for the release of “Look What You Made Me Do;” they deleted the entirety of the singer’s photos off her Instagram page, one she had only been posting on very infrequently since The Great Kim-Kanye-Snapchat Revelation of 2016. As they suspected, this action only increased the attention towards the singer, making the release of her newfound look, one that attempts to show her displeasure with the public’s perception of her with dark makeup and damp-looking hair, that much more impactful.
In this day and age, the way to increase interest after a rush of notoriety is just to simply withhold what they crave the most: information.
“… Being born is fun …” the group wrote on its Facebook page, further stoking its strange reputation, public-facing voice, and penchant for excessive ellipses.
In a time where musical artists feel the inherent need to document their every vacation, recent magazine cover, and high-profile friendship, the lead singer of Terror Jr, who goes by the alias “Lisa,” has fans of the group clamoring to reveal her true identity. Although they remain unverified on Instagram, they’ve garnered over 20,000 followers and sold out their five-show Grapeland tour, which begins on October 6th. This show, which will take place at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, will be their debut live performance.
In every promotional photo, the identity of the members remains anonymous; for the two men, they obscure their faces with their hands, and in Lisa’s case, she’s turned away from the viewer, or has her face covered by her hair or an opaque veil. In the couple years the artist has been public, it has become known that the two male members are David Singer-Vine formerly of The Cataracs, and music producer and electronic artist, Felix Snow.
Terror Jr will perform in their hometown at Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, a Music Festival that takes place October 28th and 29th in Exposition Park. Tickets are still available to see the identity of this enigmatic singer firsthand–but, for all we know, she might just take Sia’s route and remain shrouded comfortably in mystery. And why wouldn’t she? So far, it’s proved to be fortuitous in more ways than one.
Listen to “Back Baby” off their newest release, Bop 3: The Girl Who Cried Purple.