In the classic GAYLE style, she lets out all her angsty emotions through cheeky lyrics and a fiery production in her latest single. “don’t call me pretty” is fueled by the frustration and anger she has experienced during the moments she felt objectified in her relationships, friendships, and by the world. In the first verse, she exposes the unacceptable behavior of people in her past that haunts her in the present. She sings, “Don't fancy things you know you shouldn't// Just 'cause you saw a couple pictures that reminded you of// When I would let you do things now I wouldn't// Your thoughts are out of my control, but get me off your fuckin' camera roll.” These lyrics hold nothing back. GAYLE tells the audience that this person has kept pictures that she consented to them having when they were together. Now, she is no longer comfortable with them holding onto the photos and is rightfully outraged that they continue to look at them. These lyrics enrage the audience and fires them up for the remainder of the track, as they support GAYLE in reclaiming herself and her body. In the chorus, she reveals the hook: “So don’t call me pretty// I don’t wanna be pretty to you.” With these simple lines, she illustrates that she wants to take back the narrative and stop them from thinking of her in the way the used to. She would rather them think she is unattractive and insignificant, than know the perverted thoughts that run through their mind. She is livid and she is tired of keeping her mouth shut. Through her music, she is not only speaking up for herself, but also for her millions of listeners—the ones that have experienced the same situation with their former partners. She sings a truth that empowers those that relate to the song and gives them a voice they may not otherwise have. At only 18-years-old, GAYLE has written and released an outstanding number of tracks that convey brutal honesty that so many artists keep hidden. She is authentically herself and it reassures listeners that they too can fight back against those that have wronged them.
Before officially releasing this song, GAYLE played it for each show as she opened for Taylor Swift on The Eras Tour. As a member of the audience on the second night in Glendale, I knew that “don’t call me pretty” would be an instant hit. The energy that the track emits is infectious and made everyone in the crowd want to dance along. I could not wait for the fiery track to be available on all platforms so I could relive the moment I heard it for the first time on repeat. Staying true to her pop-rock sound, GAYLE kicks off the song abruptly with strong guitar chords and powerful hits on the drums, with a subtle bass in the background. Quickly, the song mellows out to the primary bass and drum beat to focus on GAYLE’s compelling vocals. There is a slight pause in the production before the song continues into the second half of the verse, where the bass is a couple octaves higher, adding another layer to the track. The chorus briefly features only vocals, before the listener is struck by the strong guitar power chords with intense distortion. Paired with the cymbal-heavy drums and the moody bassline, the production is an authentic rock anthem that proves GAYLE is a rockstar in her own right. After the chorus, the song lightly softens to some airy piano chords and angelic vocal harmonies. Then, the bass-heavy production returns for the second verse, with the addition of staggered feedback sound effects that prepare for the explosion back into the chorus. In the outro, the production switches to a muted electric guitar that draws focus on GAYLE’s flawless falsettos. The guitar builds before it reaches the final energetic eruption. The production switches from being muted to exploding between every other word sung. This provides an emphasis on the anger-fueled lyrics, before the production comes to a halt. As GAYLE sings the last line, “Cause I’m only just pretty to you,” the vocal harmonies involve several layers creating a classic vibe that beautifully closes out the song. “don’t call me pretty” is an incredibly dynamic track with multiple layers to it that showcases GAYLE creative songwriting and her meticulous attention to detail.
Taylor Gayle Rutherfurd, better known as GAYLE, is an 18-year-old pop-rock singer-songwriter. In 2021, she signed with Atlantic Records and released her 3x Platinum single, “abcdefu”. Quickly the song went viral on TikTok and Instagram, gaining her a significant following on social media. Her hit single peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States and earned the number one spot in multiple international countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany. The massive success resulted in her earning a Grammy Awards Song of the Year nomination, a Billboard Music Award nomination, and two MTV Video Music Award nominations. In March 2022, she released her debut EP, a study of the human experience volume one, which included “abcdefu”. In October 2022, she released her follow-up EP, a study of the human experience volume two. Then in December 2022, she released a special EP, a study of the human experience volume two and a half, which included unique remixes of songs from both EPs. Currently, GAYLE is experiencing her craziest adventure yet. On March 17th, 2023, she was the first supporting act on opening night in Glendale, AZ for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, alongside Paramore. She is scheduled to open for Swift on 15 dates throughout the tour, including closing night in Los Angeles. She is also scheduled to be a special guest on the European leg of P!NK’S Summer Carnival Tour, kicking off on June 7th, 2023.
Written By Karlee Skipper