Penelope Scott: Stories of Heartbreak, Rage, and Sorrow


Abbie Kraus, Staff Writer

You may or may not have heard a song by the name of “Rät” before circulating the internet. Its fast-paced synth beat mixed with anecdotal lyrics about Elon Musk and his many flaws is sure to be remembered. But, under this popular song with its obscure and deeper meaning of being manipulated, Penelope Scott’s songs encompass the absolute rage and deep, dark feelings of this entire generation.

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Penelope Scott is a 21-year-old songwriter, singer, composer, and producer. She started by simply making songs in her free time and posting them to her Bandcamp website as a simple college student with a knack for lyricism and just writing how she felt. She writes on some pretty heavy topics at times, like in her most recent EP titled Hazards. This EP consisted of her struggles with suicidal thoughts, anger with herself and society, and you can absolutely hear this outside of the dreary lyrics. Her voice carries her deepest emotions, such as in the song Warm Regards. It starts incredibly sorrowful, talking about how she’s just really sad and thought she would be dead by now; she didn’t plan on living as long as she is living now. But, by the end of the song, she’s yelling and holding back from crying as she repeats the chorus with stronger language. It can almost be hard to listen to, because you know she means every single letter of every single word. But this is what makes her such a comforting artist for those who need this kind of voice that they don’t have themselves.

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What makes Penelope and her sound so unique is how drastically her sound and style can change from album to album, but you still can identify a song as hers with that poignant, melancholy lyricism of hers. One of her earliest works, The Junkyard 2, is a complete 180 from her more “recognizable” synth-pop beats and fast-paced singing style. This album solely consists of her and a piano, making for an extremely raw and stripped-down collection of songs, but still stays consistent with her signature rhapsody. Her subsequent EP Public Void, which is her most successful work so far, familiarizes listeners with the sound she is known for today. It’s harsh, it’s brash, it’s loud, but it’s her. This sound similarly carries through to Hazards, with a rough yet glitzy melody akin to Public Void.

People find solace in songs that can help them feel comforted and less desolate. Penelope makes that kind of music for people. Her songs can feel like a hug, but sometimes they hurt, sometimes they make you angry, and sometimes her songs help you realize your own feelings and emotions that maybe you weren’t able to identify before. Her music can help listeners, more specifically young adults and teens, come to terms and cope with onerous feelings.  She is a voice for our generation in more ways than just comforting those that are hurting; she also discusses the political state of the United States and the flaws in systems that are meant to protect us. In her single Born2Run, she talks about how hurt she is that kids in schools aren’t protected from potential threats, and how sick she is that we are being betrayed by those who swore to protect us. She recognizes she is emotionally wrecked by it, but that it would make sense for all of us to be so hurt by what happens in the world around us.

For me personally, Penelope is one of my all-time favorite artists. She gives me a voice that I don’t always feel I have, and she can somehow vocalize thoughts and feelings that I could only ever feel, never begin to express. I know I am most definitely not the only one who feels this way; her number of streams and listens grows by the day, with her most popular track just around the corner from one hundred million streams. With her being so young and her career just getting started, it is very possible we will be seeing a lot more of her name popping up in the upcoming years.