Move over Billie Eilish and Girl in Red, we’ve got a new edgy, hyper-relatable indie pop queen. 23-year-old Los Angeles product Wallice Hana Watanabe, known mononymously as Wallice, has come out of nowhere to take the internet by storm with a bunch of punky bops that are fast becoming Gen-Z anthems.
Off the Rails is six tracks of unabashed and unapologetic pop and rock that beautifully marry a punk ethos with crossover mainstream appeal. The EP has hooks for days and enough quotable lyrics to have the captions for your next few Instagram posts sorted.
The six songs on the EP are all odes to “growing up and being in your early 20s,” says Wallice. “I think I encapsulated the feelings… kinda feeling like a loser sometimes – which is okay! It’s scary to grow up.”
Wallice first burst onto our radar in late 2020 with the delightful single ‘Punching Bag’, which is a nostalgic and regrettably relatable lo-fi anthem on unrequited friendship.
‘Punching Bag’ and further singles ‘23’, ‘Hey Michael’ and ‘Off the Rails’ make up the bulk of the Off the Rails EP, while the two new tracks ‘Dramamine’ and ‘Headache’ round out the six-song set.
‘23’ is a vibrant coming-of-age soundtrack. In the years leading up to the non-milestone of a birthday, Wallice dropped out of university in New York after studying jazz vocal performance for a year and moved back home to California, much to her parents’ dismay. “It was hard not to feel like a loser in that sense,” she said.
“It’s hard not to compare your own professional success to that of your similarly aged peers.”
‘Off the Rails’ explores similar feelings of discontentment in transitioning into adulthood. Her most recent single and the EP’s opener is a fitting title track as it serves as a prime representation to the sound and attitude of Wallice. Over a descending chord progression the young singer laments feelings of self-pity and lack of control over her life.
"My life's a mess, but I don't give a shit / I never try my best, I learn to live with it"
‘Hey Michael’ sees Wallice at her most explosive as she scathes toxically masculine male manipulators in a fierce yet hilarious three minutes. Doing his worst to defend himself is fellow LA artist marinelli, delivering a verse as a caricature of the titular ‘Michael’.
More than just a feature artist, marinelli is also credited with producing and co-writing the EP. As childhood friends, the two young artists share a close relationship both personally and professionally, and their chemistry is evident from their duet on ‘Hey Michael’.
The two new songs, ‘Dramamine’ and ‘Headache’ follow the same lyrical formula as the songs past, diving into themes of youth and relationships, however these tracks are definitely not just there to make up the numbers. Both are compelling tunes, particularly ‘Headache’, which breaks new sonic ground for the project as it slowly descends into fuzzy noise pop goodness, making for an unconventional and surprisingly cathartic conclusion.
The tracks on Off the Rails are impressive as standalone singles but are even more effective as a cohesive set. In just under 17 minutes, Wallice has captured an entire generation’s worth of late adolescent angst.
“I hope that when people listen to any of the songs on the EP, they don’t feel alone in feeling whatever it is they are going through, and that it brings some peace to some similar aged people that listen,” she says.
The tunes are top tier but it’s her honesty and authenticity that really make her such a likeable and relatable figure. Off the Rails is Wallice baring her soul, and the world is ready to listen.