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Maddie Ross | Never Have I Ever

The L.A. indie-popster pens the retro soundtrack for her own teenage rom-com.

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Like the rest of us, Maddie Ross stars in the movie of her own life. The only difference is, she would apparently prefer to star in a fictional ’90s teenage rom-com. And with her striking debut album, the 20-something L.A. indie-popster has also created her own narrative soundtrack and score. Inspired by iconic scenes, tropes and actors from some of her favourite films, the 10-track Never Have I Ever unfolds like a classic John Hughes tale. The new student arrives at school for the first time, deals with the annoying rich kids, goes to a house party, falls in love at first sight, goes on a date, finds out it was all a bet — but in true Hollywood fashion, everyone lives happily ever after. If it all sounds a bit precious and overdone, it’s not: Even though Ross and co-writer/producer/girlfriend Wolfy’s songs form a story, they can also stand on their own effortlessly. It doesn’t hurt that the tracks are roughly divided between guitar-driven pop nuggets, surfy new wave singles, crunchy alt-rock and ’90s-style hip-hop. Or that Ross’s powerfully sunny vocals — complemented by vibrantly upbeat production — aim for lovingly timeless simplicity instead of hipster nostalgia or anachronistic cheese. To put it another way: She’s all that. And more. Can’t wait for the sequel.