The stark contrast between the spiraling lyrics and kinetic instrumental of "mental" brings out the emotional whiplash of experiencing mental health struggles. Singer/songwriter Carla Freude—under the pseudonym youcallmecarla—finds the energizing rift between a hopeless freefall and tenacious climb. The south-German artist creates the dizzying feeling of being swarmed with self-doubt. Blitzing, upbeat pop gives impact and momentum to each line, as Freude spits out questions like they've been festering inside for years. Her delivery gives "mental" its unique progression, with phrases rolling over each other to be heard. While it maintains a danceable energy, the single piles up with frustrations. The music cuts out as she blurts out the song's centerpiece: "how do people live out here so naturally — so fucking casually?" When the chorus responds, sweet and poppy, it sounds like internal doubt being painting over with that casual coolness.
There's no singular issue or event that incites "mental." As with most mental health struggles, it's a flurry of little doubts that chip away at Freude's wellbeing. What can feel like a lifetime spent circling the drain leaves her susceptible to breaking down over something simple ("crying 'bout a pair of jeans"). Much of the lyrics document the singer/songwriter's insecurities through gritted admissions. "I laugh about my own jokes way too much," she bites, "so much that people think I'm out of touch." This vortex of frustration and exhaustion only exacerbates her plight, leaving the twenty-two-year-old susceptible to darker thoughts. "So I'm back to being a fuck-up," she sighs in the song's final moments. Clinging to the edge of the drain, she stares directly into the listener's eyes. "Wow," she murmurs, before vanishing along with the whirling synths.
Though she only began releasing her music as youcallmecarla last year, the German singer/songwriter has been writing from the age of fifteen. In 2019 and 2020, she released several singles under Carla Freude. Last march, youcallmecarla released her debut single, House in the Suburbs. A year later, she followed up with "love of your life" and "another lack" respectively. With her fourth single, "mental," Freude has cemented herself as a breakthrough artist in confessional pop. Her storytelling has remained uniquely personal across each track, documenting a young adult navigating the challenges of our time.
Written By Andy M.