Ida Maria is rock ‘n’ roll through and through. The Norwegian punk rocker, whose 2008 debut album Fortress ‘Round my Heart earned her critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork and Rolling Stone; and whose songs have appeared on countless TV series including Grey's Anatomy, Gossip Girl, and Big Mouth; has never sounded truer to herself than on her new EP Dirty Money: angsty, energized, and loud.
Ida Maria Releases “Sick of You” and “I’m Busy” Ahead of Dirty Money EP
Prior to dropping the full EP, which became available this weekend, Maria released the first single from the collection, “Sick of You,” in late 2020 as a departing middle finger to the chaotic year and her own personal pitfalls she’s leaving in the dust. Like the entirety of Dirty Money, “Sick of You” sounds like it is ripped straight from the annals of the 2000s garage rock revival that Maria originally contributed to. Set to thick and heavy guitar reminiscent of her contemporaries The Black Keys and The White Stripes, Maria belts out “I’m so sick of you” over and over in her signature howl.
The second single, “I’m Busy,” released on April 16th, is both a very catchy hook and one of the bolder artistic statements in Maria’s career. Over a shiny distorted guitar lick and steady drumbeat, Maria talk-sings about mindless sex in a criticism of misogyny that also happens to be one of the best chattering rock songs since Hockey Dad’s “Sweet Release.”
Ida Maria’s Anti-Industry Voice
This is the decided thematic energy of Dirty Money, independence and sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. But for Maria, it comes across as genuine expression rather than overblown bombast, because the songs tackle the very real emotions she grapples with.
It’s not just stories of a meaningless hookup and dismissing a jerk of a guy, but also an attempt to highlight the objectification of women in the music industry and break free from the gendered shackles that come as baggage in the world where Maria operates – one with which she has been very publicly disillusioned in the past.
Maria has never entirely fit the mold of a music industry superstar, bringing all the sound but none of the digestible personality that record label suits would want to roll out to award shows every year. In fact, she once destroyed an award she received in a fit of exasperation over the struggles of being a woman in music.
“A girl can’t put out music on a major platform without going through some twisted, insane beauty ideal that doesn’t correspond with my own ideals of what a woman can be,” Maria said of the incident. “A woman is a complex creature. There are not enough complex female role voices out there.”
And this isn’t even as introspective as the Dirty Money EP gets. The titular track, self-explanatory in name but no less impactful in content, puts Maria’s individual existence and relation to the climate crisis into perspective. She puts record labels in the hot seat with her, criticizing both the labels for raking in money from environmentally destructive businesses like oil and herself for indirectly benefiting and earning that money.
The Dirty Money EP is layers deep in meaning and personality, to the point where the otherwise-trivial fact that it is released independently through Altitude Music is suddenly relevant for its representation of Maria’s disregard of major labels. Yet it can just as easily be the best mindless listen of the summer. Soaked in garage rock guitar and effortlessly fun shout-sing vocals, the Dirty Money EP is Ida Maria at her absolute best - a perfect fusion of mindless fun and meaningful messages.
DIRTY MONEY is now available. For more about Ida Maria, follow her on Twitter @idamaria.