Michigan native Chloe Moriondo began her music career online, amassing some 3.5 million fans by posting ukulele covers on YouTube. In her second studio album Blood Bunny, Moriondo tries her hand at pop-punk. Turns out, she’s rather bloody good at it.
Blood Bunny is a far cry from Moriondo’s first album Rabbit Hearted, a lo-fi album that she self-released in 2018. In an interview with Flood Magazine, she says that Avril Lavigne and Hayley Williams inspired Blood Bunny‘s creation. Their influences are clear from the get-go. Bolstered by a full band, ‘Rly Don’t Care’ conjures a mood of gleeful indifference: “I don’t care if you don’t like it / ‘Cause I’ve done this shit a million times.” Electric guitar, whimsical vocals, and thundering drums make for a thrilling listening experience. “We’ll make it out of here somehow,” Moriondo sings, determined to take control of her life, “I think I’m going to drive this time.”
The following tracks are similarly vibrant. ‘I Eat Boys’ disguises a cannibalistic revenge fantasy behind honeyed vocals and melodies. Its visuals are similarly disarming. Directed by Sydney Ostrander, the music video nods to horror-comedy Jennifer’s Body (2009), wherein a cheerleader-cum-succubus replenishes herself through the consumption of male classmates. Moriondo murders three men for catcalling, clad in pink and fluttering doll-length lashes all the while. The record’s violence will no doubt resonate with women who have experienced verbal harrassment. ‘I Eat Boys’ satiates the desire of those wanting autonomy in a world that demands subservience.
As the album progresses however, anxiety seeps through the blithe tenacity of earlier tracks. ‘Slacker’ showcases the emotional turmoil of unrequited love: “And now I fantasise of you and hope that / you won’t realise.” Moriondo’s simple lyricism allows listeners to apply their own experiences to each song, inviting a certain empathy with the artist. Her anguish does not feel performative but vulnerable. Those who long for the lo-fi melancholy of her earlier work will find ‘Slacker’ to be a standout track, reminiscent of Phoebe Bridgers in its ambling pace and delicate instrumental.
‘Samantha’ offers listeners a brief respite from encroaching dread. It is a love song for Samantha Caballero, Moriondo’s girlfriend and best friend since elementary school: “Samantha, I’m in love with you / And I’ll say it again and again.” But the sweet confession promptly gives way to self-doubt as Moriondo admits that “everything I write sounds cliché.” The album leans into its downward spiral. ‘Strawberry Blonde’ details Moriondo’s reliance on her partner for emotional stability. ‘Vapor’ reveals her desire to abandon her body and “live in the clouds.” Moriondo hits rock bottom in the album’s final track, ‘What If It Doesn’t End Well’, in which she contemplates all the ways a relationship could end in disaster: “What if I fuck it up like I always do / And my shit gets in the way?” The most intriguing aspect of Blood Bunny is it’s constant ricocheting between fear and excitement.
After a particularly tumultuous year, it is no wonder why pop-punk has seen a sudden revival among the younger generations. The genre offers artists and listeners alike a space to express their deepest fears and desires. Given the likes of Yungblud and Willow Smith, distinguishing oneself as a memorable pop-punk artist is no mean feat. With honest writing and gory monster-girl anthems, Moriondo has done just that.
Words by Phoebe Kalid
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