Kira Kosarin going Off Brand was the best thing that ever happened to her. And to me.

HELLO, MY PEOPLE, I AM RETURNED! AND IT'S RAINDROP'S FIRST BIRTHDAYYYYY! CAN I GET A HELL YEAH?? I know the idea of this blog is posting once a month, and I've been MIA for a while, but a lot has happenned since my last post. Like I got kicked out of my house, I wrote a book, my graduation thesis got approved with 100%, I got three new tattoos, I started using tampons... It's a whole thing. But none of this matters because I am not talking about myself today. THAT'S RIGHT. You don't get an update on my life right now because I want to talk about something more important!
It's been a year since our first post. A lot has changed and great things have happened. If you know me at all, you know writing about Kira Kosarin is my favorite thing in this whole universe. Right now, I have a headache, I am sick as fuck, I can't barely breathe and I should probably go to bed but you bet your ass writing about Kira is exactly what I want to do. On Raindrop's first ever post we were saying goodbye to a show that marked my life by bringing Kira to it. On this post we're saying hello to the thing that makes Kira who she is and the thing that made me love her more than ever: Music. Here's my official review for Kira Kosarin's debut album, "Off Brand":

Have you ever heard that theory that mixes evolution and creationism, that the 7 days God took to create the universe it's just a metaphor and that it really took milions and milions of years but because God is God, it felt like 7 days for Them? Well, you can use that theory as an analogy for "Off Brand". The story you get when you play the 7 songs is just the tip of the iceberg of the milions of great things that were done to make this album what it is.
"Off Brand" was many things before it was IT. It was an album, then an EP, then an album again, then a 18-track album, then a mixtape, then an album again. It had many songs, then very few songs, then many new songs... It used to tell a story completely different than it does now. It used to sound very different than it does now. It was hard to keep track but I have the whole thing registered on my journal. OB came into my life as a promise, then as the reality of my favorite memories. Before there was "Off Brand", there was me, and my complete obsession for a girl made of music.
Keep up with me: You're a teenager, and you start making art. At first is just scribbles and random things. You're just trying to make sense of what you're living, you're just trying to create things that resonate with you the same way other people's art resonates. All around you people tell you what to do, how to act, what to create. So your true self is revealed on the art you don't show people. The art you can make what you want of. And then suddenly, you're an adult and you can do whatever the fuck you want. And what you want is to make of that art the best it can be and make it something you can be proud of. Something you love. Something that shows the world who you really are. No rules to follow, no one to tell you what to do. Amazing, right? NO!!! TERRIFYING AS SHIT!!! Having free will is awful!!! Specially because it's not "NO RULEZZ" it's "NEW RULES". New rules you don't know shit about and that you have to figure out as you go. If you want to make it with your true self, you have to relearn all of the things other people taught you wrong. If you want to make it with your true self you have to expose yourself to a level of vulnerability you never had to before because the rules you followed earlier were shielding you from a completely different wolrd. A world that can be good but also can suck. And the worst part is that not only is the old shield broken and unable to protect you, but it's also hurting you, and it's all people can see when they look at you, instead of the whole new, stripped down you that you are trying so hard to show.
If you didn't get all those metaphors (I'm a fantasy writer, it's what I do) let me explain it to you: When Kira started working on her new music last year, I really thought I was ready for her and the world was ready for her. None of us were. The stripped down, vulnerable and completely badass  Kira Kosarin sometimes cannot be seen behind the layers and layers of shielded Kira Kosarin that The Network That We Will Not Name Because It Is Not Relevant decided to create. And how do I know this? Lemme tell you. This isn't my original "Off Brand" review. My first "Off Brand" review was professional, clean, cute, funny. My first "Off Brand" review went through sites, and blogs, and magazines. Crossed the eyes of dozens of editors, dozens of website creators. It got declined every single time. And it wasn't because the music isn't good. It wasn't because it's not well produced. It wasn't because it isn't nuanced. People still have a hard time letting go of the image of Kira they got first, even if that image isn't the real Kira. I didn't mention The Network on my original review and when one of the editors looked it up and that immediately turned Kira into just another child actress who decided to make music.
I write for websites with indie artists and I know for a fact that Kira's music is great and as great as many artists I covered (and better than others). The only thing that blocks her from getting to people who like her music is this idea of associating her to The Network. "Off Brand" is a R&B album, but none of the artists that are "related" to Kira on Spotify are R&B artists. The reason is: her music is not making it to the people that listen to R&B. And though we as fans can work out butts off to get the music out, it's not going to hit the right people unless it hits music platforms too.
"Off Brand" first came into my life as a project. An idea. It was the album Kira was working on for so long. Something she just wanted to put out soon but she wanted to do the right way. I fell in love with it so deeply it hurt. I can't tell you all the number of times I cried this year with the idea that I was losing something that was just ours. I loved talking to K about songs no one else cared enough to learn the title, and asking her her setlists and making theories. When the songs became everyone else's it felt like I was losing that. It wasn't my thing anyone, it was everyone's. I cried for the songs I used to call mine and they became everyone elses. I was so jealous of everyone who was getting to listen to those songs for the first time and fall in love with them for the first time.
Not everyone gets to know Kira the way I do, and I love that, but I wish people just gave themselves space to get to know Kira better. The real Kira. And with people, I'm not talking only about fans, I'm talking about journalists. For once I want to read one interview that is just about music. Just about the artists she likes the most, the things she was most excited to learn as a new artist on a complex industry, even shit like "who she'd thank if she got a Grammy next year". For once I just want to read a piece that is as passionate about "Off Brand" as they are about Kira's acting. Kira has a way of always bringing something new into the same old questions but I hate that people are always asking her the same old questions. Challenge her. The always raises to the challenge.
And I need the rest of the fandom to stop telling ME she is underrated. I know!! Tell that to music magazines. Tag motherfucking Billboard when you post about her music. Look up "music website" on Twitter and start tweeting them "you should write about Kira Kosarin's music". Look up for people under Kehlani, Jhené Aiko and Sza's posts and tell them to listen to Kira's music. Post things with hashtags that allows these fans of other artists to find Kira. Don't tag Kira because you want Kira to like, to follow and notice you. Kira knows she is underrated. I know she is underrated. THE ENTIRE FANDOM KNOWS SHE IS UNDERRATED. Tell people who can rate her that she is underrated. And don't come to me saying you're doing enough. No one of us has done enough until she is exactly where she deserves to be.
Now that is more than clear that I am extremely passionated about this album, and that I've finally vented about the last few months, you probably wanna know about the songs in the album. Well, it's time. Track one is "Crazy's Your Type" one of my all time faves. This song was stuck on my mind for so long after I listened to it a couple of times on Kira's performances last year and up until the album came out it was definitely my #1 song of Kira's. Crazy's Your Type is exactly what it sounds like. A song about your dumb ass friend who continues to date shitty people, ignoring your advices and always coming back to you once they got their hearts broken. Every. Single. Time. One of my favorite things tho is the fact that the song is almost accidentaly sexy. Like "I get it, the sex is great." or "I know you love her naked (but that doesn't mean you love her)".
Then comes 47 Hours. This song was a real mistery. Kira never played it live so I hadn't listened to it until it came out but I knew the name of it by two separeted random mentions. My first impression when I first heard the iTunes preview of the song was that my heart was pouding against my chest in a very dangerous way. The song felt so... nice? Like hmmm yes, give me this shit. And at the same time her vocals were doing things I didn't know they could do (which is funny because this song was recorded a really long time ago and Kira's vocals evolved a lot for the last year). This song was sending feelings down my spine I didn't know I could feel. Nowadays, the beat of 47 Hours is the most calming for me. It's the song I play on repeat when I just want some peace and the song I play when I'm feeling anxious and just need something to breathe along with. The lyrics, about a guy that gets too into you too fast, are a whole mood and were actually the theme of one of my therapy sessions back in March. Apparently my standards are "too high" and I needed to "meet more people". Which reminds me I need to reply to the guy on Tinder who sent me five messages after I gave him a one line response (if one of these messages are asking for my phone number, I'm unmatching, I don't give a fuck, he is not that hot). Anyway... where were we? Oh yeah. 47 Hours. The song also has my actual favorite lyric video so WATCH IT:

Then comes Area Code. Having heard Area Code live several times, my first impression of the studio version was that I was expecting the song to be faster. Instead the song is sexy in a teasing "here is what you're missing by not being here" way. The song is exactly what you'd be playing in the background of a video you record from your room and send the person who stood you up. So I guess, goal archeived? Area Code is actually the only one of Kira's songs that I wanted to know who it was about. Then I got a solid theory and decided it was not worthy finding out if I was right or not because I love the song and I don't want it to be ruined (I know who a couple of songs are about and let me tell you: knowing can make or break the song for you). I do kind of want to know if the boy it is about has heard the song and got shook by it, but knowing men I know that if he did hear, he probably didn't even realize it was about him.
Wandering Eyes comes next and this song... Well, I don't want to say that it's the song that makes me more angsty because the song that makes me the most angsty was cut from the album because it felt to similar to Wandering Eyes so, you know. It's still an insanely haunting song. It's the oldest song in the album and it was written as K was still a teenager, figuring out feelings and falling in the right and the wrong types of love. "Cause you're my baby but he is my guilty little pleasure" is probably one of my favorite lyrics because it brings such a good crave feeling. And of course, we can't forget the runs. Because Wandering Eyes has the best goddamn runs in the whole album. I said it so much already, but I love how close to the live versions the album version got because when Kira ends this song live it's amazing. The shows that are filled with her friends are the best ones to watch because the end of Wandering Eyes is exactly the moment where everyone is like "I knew she was good, but damn, she is GOOOD".
Love Me Like You Hate Me. I need to be honest. For the first few days after "Off Brand" dropped, I couldn't listen to this song. I had been listening to it since it dropped as a single in February, of course, but when the album dropped I was feeling so heartbroken over it. Here is the whole drama: When Kira wrote Love Me Like You Hate Me, the lyrics were different, the vibe was different, she used a guitar instead of the piano you hear on the album. And the night she wrote it she was worried because the song was hella explicit and maybe people weren't ready to listen to it. So when she mentioned it and then posted it for a few minutes it became my song because I was old enough to listen to it. I had the song stuck on my mind constantly. When Kira started perfoming it I realized she changed the lyrics and started calling the song Love Me Like You Hate Me and I had the audacity of getting annoyed because I thought Fragile was a better title (I was wrong, and I can admit it). But Love Me Like You Hate Me was also one of the first songs that people got tattoos of and one of the songs Kira started telling people were "their songs" because of those tattoos. And listen, the person who got the tattoo (and also did the drawings for the lyric video) is my friend and we talked about this like 100 times but it was just that if the songs were other people's I just didn't feel good calling it "my song" anymore. And it felt like I lost something. I thought I was over it by the time the album dropped... I was wrong again. I was feeling like I was losing a lot at that time. And it's such a weird and stupid fucking feeling but it was like "None of you will love this music the same way I do, so I want it to continue to be just mine.". I can't honestly say I'm over it now. I'm 100% sure that when one of the songs Kira played on the release party drops I'm gonna cry again and cry a lot, and not because the song is sad but because I love it so much it hurts. The guittar pattern in it is one of my favorites in the world and it makes me think of old Instagram lives and me alone in my room smiling in the dark just watching the human I love the most do what she loves to do the most. Kira took a really long time to find the right people to work with this new song because she loves it too and I'm just not ready to have it out in the world and to have people not appreciating it the way it should be appreciated. That's the thing with this music, you know? I can't just listen to it. Those songs are the stories behind it too and the memories I made. Love Me Like You Hate Me can just be a baby making song to you but the reasons why *I* could never have sex to this song aren't limited to the fact that having sex with Kira's voice in the background would be weird as fuck. I'm over the whole drama with LMLYHM though... sort of... and I listen to it all the time because I love it and listening to it feels like home. (It's literally my top song on Last.Fm right now)
Now to Take This Outside, aka, my graduation song. Take This Outside is the banger and the most dancing song of the album and it's sexy too. The whole album is sexy, y'all. Bad Bitch Kira is a sexy ass version of Kira. Deal with it. What I love about this song in particular is that the lyrics speak to a pretty common feeling that I immediately recognize as something that I felt once, got super drunk to get over and ended up loosing a pin I had on my jacket. I also had to do a walk of shame the next day, walking across a church while smelling like all types of booze. In conclusion, listen to Take This Outside at your own risk.
And finally, Poison. Look, I don't really have a favorite "Off Brand" song. I can't pick favorites. Sure Crazy's Your Type is my #1, 47 Hours is the song of my heart, Area Code is "my bad bitch cruising through the city" anthem, Love Me Like You Hate Me is my complicated love, Take This Outside is my graduation song and Poison is the best thing to happen in the history of music but I wouldn't call any of them my favorite. Still, Poison is the best thing to happen in the history of music. This song makes me so NSIFNDINFDFINFUIDNFBDBHSBSBSDFHBSDFHBFSD, you know??? Jesus, I still haven't recovered from the first time I listened to it. I turned this song into my religion and I will legit use it as excuse to do dumb shit (like flirting with a guy I knew damn well was a Bolsonaro supporter but was so fucking hot I couldn't help it) (don't worry we stopped talking when I decided I needed to make better choices and now he unfollowed me back on Instagram). And it's just such a hard song but something Kira went and did it. I still don't feel like it's going to be my favorite Kira song forever (honestly once the new song I mentioned before drops, it's over for everyone), and I'm not even saying it's my favorite Kira song right now, but like... If you put a gun to my head and said I can only listen to one song from "Off Brand" for the rest of my life, I'd pick Poison. Maybe I'd even pick Poison too fast.
"Off Brand" is not your regular album. It doesn't follow what you expect from it, even if you thought you knew what to expect. It breaks every link you could possibly have created between the singer's truth and what you thought of her. And the best part is, this is just the beginning. There is so much more Kira to come. More than even she knows because she is just getting started and there is a lot for her to find on herself. And there is a lot for us to hear too. All I know is that this music and its singer are the best things that ever happened to me.

Giulia Santana is a Brazilian author, journalist, fangirl and activist — but not necessarily on that order.

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