“I am 20 and probably upset right now / I still haven’t got my driver’s license,” Maisie Peters opens up on the title track of her debut album You Signed Up For This. Peters, who is signed under Ed Sheeran’s record label, called the album an “escape from here and my stupid young naive 19-year-old self catapulting around London.”
If there’s anything that this album is, it’s dramatic, and in all the best ways. In “John Hughes Movie,” Peters contrasts her ideas of love with reality: “Cause this ain’t no John Hughes movie where the girl gets the guy / You look right through me every time you walk by.” In “Psycho” Peters tells the story of a guy cheating on his girlfriend with her: “Playing a perfect Patrick Bateman / Put blame on anyone but you.” In “Volcano” she tells her ex that she will “throw you in a volcano / I hope death is sudden.”
At the core, this album is a coming-of-age album. All the songs play on the line between hyperbole and honesty, infused with the volatile feelings of growing up. In “I’m Trying (Not friends),” Peters chants, “3 shots, lemon drops / one for being lost and alone in your early 20s.” In “Brooklyn” she sings, “Noodles for breakfast / Terrible tickets.”
The album is pure pop, more so than any of Peters’s early work. It’s laced with ’80s and early 2000s influences, namely Robyn and Carly Rae Jepsen. However, Peters’s style is most defined by her songwriting skills, which shine through on every song on the album, but mostly through heartbreaking “Hollow” in which Peters croons, “You felt me hollow / are you happy now? / I hope you’re happy now.”
In an interview with iNews, Peters reveals that some people even told her the song was too sad for the album, but that she refused to remove it because “it’s important to have songs like that. I’m not here to write an empowerment album right now; this record is just about trying to tell the truth.”
If this album followed the five stages of grief, then “Tough Act” is acceptance. The closing track follows Peters as she discusses the reasons she and her ex broke up: “We wrote it to a dead-end / saying goodbye to a best friend / its the bad part of the right thing to do.”
The album is poised, energetic, and honest in its portrayal of the highest highs and the lowest lows of romance, moving on, and being in your early 20s.