BÜLOW, Courtyard Theatre – Evening Standard, 12 April 2019

While 17-year-old Billie Eilish sits in the number one spot with her songs about being a miserable teenager, Megan Bülow, at 19, is a little older and not far behind. The Germany-born electropop singer was still finishing high school in the Netherlands when her anti-romance anthem Not a Love Song became a hit in Canada and started on its way to 40 million Spotify streams. She recently won Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Junos, Canada’s equivalent of the Brits.

Her nomadic childhood has given her plenty of raw material. “All my friends are on Adderall,” she sang on Honor Roll, a hazy R&B song about fearing the future. You & Jennifer undercut its sweet melody and easy beats with a startling barrage of swearing at a two-timing lover.

  She performed it here with two middle fingers raised, a rare moment of spirit at a show that was otherwise spent teenage-style, under a black baseball cap, sleeves over hands, lost in the smoke. The softening digital effect that she uses on her vocals on record was also employed here, so that it was hard to tell that she was singing live. A keyboard player and a drummer provided the backing, while she occasionally stabbed at a sampler, playing around with the rapped section of a song with the ultimate teen title, Sad and Bored.

  She was best when she stepped outside the recorded format, stripping Euphoria down to a hushed final verse that stilled the small room. But there was no need to change Not a Love Song, a track that will surely be a mainstream hit in more countries sooner or later with its finger clicks and skipping synths. Stage presence should come with maturity, and bigger venues than this are due in adulthood.

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