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The viral sensation of Hemlocke Springs’ “Girlfriend”

By Anthony Cesario


A couple weeks ago, 23-year-old indie artist Hemlocke Springs dropped her second song, “Girlfriend.” Ever since, it’s lived on TikTok For You page rent-free, and I can’t say I’m complaining.


“Girlfriend,” like many songs these days, lives in the liminal space between the real world and the online world, as artists migrate to TikTok in flocks to make their music go viral before it’s even released. It’s the quest to find that perfect, itch-scratching snippet that will get people to stop their endless scrolling and pay attention, to send them about their day humming a song that doesn’t exist yet. But the difference between “Girlfriend” and so many other songs that fall into this category is that it doesn’t feel like an afterthought built entirely around a catchy 10 seconds; it’s a fully-fledged, great pop song that just so happens to also have so many incredibly infectious moments.


“Girlfriend” just feels more authentic than the typical TikTok sensation, especially because the part of the song Hemlocke Springs initially thought would go viral – the chorus – was not actually the part that did. Instead, it was the bouncy, endearingly off-kilter bridge that fans and TikTok commenters have compared to MARINA, Kate Bush, and MGMT. And while this bridge is undeniably the show-stealer, the rest of the song is fantastic as well: a refreshingly quirky slumber party banger that you might imagine a character in a coming-of-age movie dancing to in their mirror, using their hairbrush as a microphone.


As we become more inundated with music than ever in the age of technology, and naysayers pin TikTok as the worst thing to have ever happened to the music industry (as if “music used to be so much better in the past” hasn’t been an argument for decades now), “Girlfriend” is one song that proves there are tons of gems lying beneath – or even at – the surface. You just have to keep an eye out for them.


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