Zoe Wees
Photo: Dome Darko / Press

Zoe Wees — Girls Like Us

The “Control” artist turns her focus to an empowerment anthem after a hard-hitting, emotional debut.

Though we know what our basic needs are, in the form of food, water, and shelter, we far too often neglect the additional factors that keep our wheels turning; newcomer pop artist Zoe Wees is reminding us to nourish the tough-to-confront parts, too. With her latest single, “Girls Like Us,” Wees takes us through a narrative that is part empowerment and part reconciliation, urging listeners to be attentive to the parts of themselves that they might not love, but are crucial to making up the person they become.

“For me, it was the hardest feeling to grow up in a world that you feel doesn’t accept you,” Wees said in a press release for the single. “We all have insecurities, but this is what makes us beautiful.”

Really, it puts into words the challenge of battling insecurity quietly, simultaneously seeking out trustworthy relationships while putting up a wall to avoid pain. It is a different (but still personally driven) narrative from Wees’s debut single, “Control,” in which she hit the pop scene running. “Control” gave listeners a glimpse into Wees’s experience growing up with benign rolandic epilepsy, while providing her an opportunity to dive into her past and find healing while writing about the “loss of control, helplessness and exclusion” she felt then, according to an interview with Wonderland magazine.

“Girls Like Us” feels like a natural transition in Wees’s discography, showcasing her ability to make personal anecdotes universally relatable with an ounce of encouragement to regain ownership over one’s own narrative. The track is accompanied by an emotional visual grounded in vulnerability, a perfect fit for the empowerment anthem.

The Michael Winkler-directed video features muted tones throughout and opens with minimalist shots of Wees performing in a storm. Her tears are wiped away by the hands of off-screen individuals, and it clearly places the spotlight on Wees’s ability to be unapologetically real sonically and aesthetically; there are no gimmicks in this visual, just as there are none within the lyricism of “Girls Like Us.”

Sonically, “Girls Like Us” is worthy of turning up and belting in front of the bedroom mirror (or anywhere, really, that we feel emotionally stripped down). Lyrically, the song shines most when it is overflowing with the imagery of feeling isolated with lines like, “Stuck here in these waters / So sick to my stomach / Is anybody there? / Red lights / Red lights in the darkness / Everyone’s so heartless / Does anybody care?” that appear in the track’s first verse.

Wees wraps up the track’s sentiment well in the chorus, singing, “It’s hard for girls like us / We don’t know who we trust / Not even the ones we love / ‘Cause they don’t know / Try to numb this pain / ‘Cause we don’t wanna get hurt again / Left alone out in the rain / They don’t know.”

There is no doubt that the song is a heart-wrenching one but, more than anything, it seems to set the stage for what Wees can accomplish; though she doesn’t need anthemic pop jams to come out on top — as she has effortlessly proved in many a cover song — it’s great to know that she can do it all while baring it all (and helping others find solace in the words, as well).