Tessa Violet is an up-and-coming pop sensation and easily one of the best indie artists of the decade. Violet announced her second album, “Bad Ideas,” which drops on Oct. 25 — her first album since “Maybe Trapped Mostly Troubled” came out over five years ago. She let out the exciting news on Oct. 4, giving fans just three weeks to prepare. On Oct. 7, Violet released the track list to the public, showing the 11 songs featured on the album — four of them already released.
The first song fans got to hear was “Crush,” which came out back in June 2018. This song was pure pop, a clear shift from her more somber music of the past. Instead of singing about how she wished she had no feelings, like in song “Make Me a Robot,” Violet embraces her feelings. The second verse ends with, “I wanna touch you but don’t wanna be weird / It’s such a rush, I’m thinking wish you were here.” Incredibly catchy, this song blew up fast among fans of Violet and others.
Originally a YouTuber, Tessa Violet had some friends on the media platform who were quick to jump up and cheer for this track. One of these friends was Hank Green. Green is a bestselling author, creator of YouTube channels like vlogbrothers and CrashCourse, as well as the brother to YA legend John Green. Green was quick to voice his support on social media and on Violet’s YouTube channel.
The music video for “Crush” was simple; Violet pined over the cute grocery store worker while lip-syncing the song. Despite its modest production, the video blew up. Currently, it has over 48 million views. “Crush” is a party song to dance and scream along to. When Violet opened for COIN, an indie band from Tennessee, she asked the audience to do a specific dance. She had the audience lift their hands in a “raise the roof” fashion. It was actually cool.
The next song fans got to hear was the title track, “Bad Ideas.” The cover for this track features Tessa Violet holding scissors up to her bangs, mocking the tendency of girls to change their hair when they’re struggling. This is a slower track, again about pining. Violet starts off with a captivating first lyric, “I hope that you don’t think I’m rude / but I wanna make out with you.” She makes her intentions with this song clear right from the start. “Bad Ideas” is a love letter. She desperately wants to be with this person, even if she knows that it will just lead to heartbreak. She sings, “Even if I miss you / At least I’ll know what it’s like to have held your hand.”
Though the music video for “Bad Ideas” did not blow up nearly as much as “Crush” did, it still has earned an impressive 4.5 million views compared to Violet’s subscriber count of less than 2 million. The video featured Violet in identical, multicolored jumpsuits in rooms that matched the color of each suit. For example, the video opens with a shot of Violet in a bright green jumpsuit surrounded completely by bright green books.
“I Like (the idea of) You” is the third song from the “Bad Ideas” album that fans have heard. Similar to “Crush,” “I Like (the idea of) You” is an upbeat pop track meant to be danced to. On tour, Violet asks fans to jump up and down to the beat of the chorus, a perfect move for the feel of the song. Matching the theme of the “Bad Ideas” track, this record discusses a relationship with someone that Violet knows she just isn’t right for. Throughout the song, Violet acknowledges that this is a bad idea (ha), that this relationship is something she knows she shouldn’t go for but wants to anyway.
This video, with almost 2 million views, features Violet and a team of female dancers wearing matching outfits: oversize sweaters with tights and heels. The backup dancers wear bright-colored sweaters — red, orange, yellow, green — while Violet wears black. This is the first fans get to see of Violet’s dancing abilities.
These three songs were available for purchase in an exclusive vinyl that fans had the opportunity to order back in the summer. The vinyl, titled “Bad Ideas (Act One),” featured those three as well as remixes of the tracks by Le Youth and Viceroy. The physical record is a gorgeous bright yellow color, similar to Violet’s signature hair shade, and also includes a digital download.
The most recent track fans got to hear is “Games.” Moving away from the brooding nature of the other released songs from “Bad Ideas,” “Games” is a callout song for bothersome men. Tessa Violet sings about her annoyances from this guy who keeps sending her mixed signals. Violet sings in the chorus, “I hate the way you break, and you take and you tear me down / Boy you really oughta knock it off right now.” “Games” is a blend of styles between tracks “Bad Ideas” and “Crush.” It retains a bubbly energy and is certainly upbeat, but significantly less upbeat than “Crush.”
She has yet to release a music video for this track, but instead has provided a lyric video, featuring Violet in an ice rink wearing an all-white ensemble and sneakers. Despite only being out for a week, the video has gained almost 500,000 views.
Currently, Tessa Violet is on tour in Europe. She spent most of 2019 on tour opening for acts like COIN and AJR, though she did do a brief headlining tour throughout the summer. Her headlining tour, the “I Like (the idea of) You” tour, spanned across the entire United States. Opening acts included Chloe Lilac, daysormay, and Upsahl. She will continue touring in the United States in the winter with MisterWives.