Josie Proto released her debut EP PUB SONGS: Volume 1 earlier this month. During 2020, Proto has forged a strong reputation on TikTok thanks to her blending playful melodies with witty lyrics. Her music has captured the attention of millions; even Lily Allen is a fan thanks to her viral track ‘BTEC Lily Allen.’
Proto’s escapist lyrics work well with the minimalist production because they bring feelings of innocence and vulnerability. All the songs make the listener feel positive. They’re full of upbeat vibes and groovy melodies, which make you feel like you can achieve anything.
‘BTEC Lily Allen’ is a strong attack on Proto’s critics. “Don’t you call me a BTEC Lily Allen / Say I’ve got no goddam talent / and my songs should only be played in a pub / and my biggest fan is my mum.” You can feel her happiness when she sings “BTEC Lily Allen and I’ll prove all these bastards wrong.”
‘BTEC Lily Allen’ seamlessly flows into ‘Sliced Bread.’ This song is full of Game Boy synths, adding to the summery feel. It’s about Proto getting over an ex who cheated on her. The carefree melody contrasts with the melancholic lyrics: “I struggle when you’re gone / That’s because I don’t put the washing on / And I don’t miss you when I’m awake / But that’s what happens when these strong hearts break.”
Up next, ‘Burner’ explores false information from social media. When Proto sings “fuck it I’m gon’ live in a cave”, it puts a smile on your face. You can see that online drama annoys her, leading her to issue a rallying call to her listeners: “Let’s all buy a burner / We’ll do it together.”
‘Wales’ shows off Proto’s versatility. It’s a folky number where she imagines a trip to Wales. The acoustic guitar works well with the reflective lyrics because they pull you into the picture. “Let’s climb the mountain and sit in the sky” could be a metaphor for aiming as high as you can.
PUB SONGS: Volume 1 allows us to enter the world of Josie Proto. Overall, it is captivating because it’s full of upbeat melodies and reflective lyrics. It uses vulnerability in a positive way, allowing the listener to escape and follow their dreams.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos