girli | Credit: Fiona Garden

Love Letter to a Record: girli on ‘The Con’ by Tegan and Sara

Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Here, girli confesses her love for Tegan and Sara’s fifth album, The Con (2007).

London songwriter Milly Toomey makes queer pop music under the name girli. On the recent single ‘I Really F**ked It Up’, the 25 year old artist tries to answer the question, “Who am I?” She’s still not sure – “I don’t have that answer and no one does, which is okay,” Toomey said – but such identity crises are ripe for fodder for what girli calls “oversharing, overdramatic” pop music.

girli’s Love Letter to Tegan and Sara’s The Con

girli: I was a highly emotional and overdramatic teenager. If you listen to my music, you’ll know I’m a highly emotional and overdramatic twenty-something. My early education into emotional and overdramatic bops was The Con by Tegan and Sara. Although it came out in 2007 when I was 10, I discovered it in 2011 as a still closeted, bullied and nerdy year 8 student.

14-year-old me, who’d never been in love, would curl myself into a ball on my bed and bawl my eyes out while wailing, “Maybe you woulda been something I’d be good at,” and “I felt you in my legs before I ever met you,” even though sex was an intangible concept to me that only existed in films. Or I was cycling to school listening to the bittersweetness of ‘Back In Your Head’ on my purple iPod Nano, pretending like I had a clue what “I’m not unfaithful but I’ll stray” meant.

This album – even though it was written by two 27 year olds about experiences way beyond my understanding as a still pre-pubescent teen – helped me to process the anguish and misunderstanding I felt in school. I cried so many beautiful tears to these songs; I was so obsessed with some of the lyrics that I even wrote them on my bedroom ceiling with a Sharpie. Somehow my mum was okay with me doing this – I must’ve been really going through it.

A year later, I came out as queer at their show in London and decided to start my own band. 10 years later, I’m making my own oversharing, overdramatic pop songs, and teenagers reach out to me in my DMs telling me about how my lyrics have made them feel less shitty.

I still come back to The Con. Every breakup and breakdown, every time I need a good cry, it has my back. It always manages to make me feel a little bit less lost.

girli – ‘I Really F**ked It Up’

  • girli is supporting Magdalena Bay at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory on Thursday, 5th January – Tickets

Further Reading

Love Letter to a Record: Magdalena Bay on Genesis’ ‘Selling England by the Pound’

Lil Nas X, PinkPantheress and Magdalena Bay Announce Falls Sideshows

Tegan And Sara Announce Their Tenth Studio Album, ‘Crybaby’

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