It’s a document stacked with love, growth and understanding. An ode to the heart, both in its good times, and when it’s broken but still beating. Gretta’s career has always crossed upbeat, high-tempo tracks and a calmer, more personal touch. ‘Positive Spin’ sticks to that, but kicks it into a new space. 

“Stretch marks on my thighs, so easy to spiral”. The title track’s introspective opening line sets you up for the ride, as she confirms “mid-20s are manic.” It’s place-setter for the coming songs which “embrace a new era”.

‘Upgraded’ is wild rollercoaster pop, the album’s first banger. It’s playful but poignant – “Your ex-lover – honey blonde Australian – is upgraded”. It’s big and sweeping, aiming for TV screens and arenas. Conversely, ‘Nobody Here’ is more like debut full-length ‘Begin To Look Around’, only with a slightly harder edge.

‘Heartbreak Baby’, an example of Gretta’s humongous ambitions, is the first in a run of pre-released tracks on the album tracklist. The open letter of ‘Dear Seventeen’ is more intricate. As hinted at in the lyrics, Gretta has been crafting great songs for years, penning ‘Drive’ at 17, and she proclaims that she is still improving. That might be tough to believe for some artists – not Gretta Ray.

It pivots again – ‘Don’t Date The Teenager’ is a driving message for everyone, a tune for the TikTok age, with a beautiful bridge and a catchy “nah nah nah nah nah” you won’t get out of your head. Alongside ‘Dear John’, it’s a song fighting back against rock and roll’s storied history of courting young people. 

Gretta Ray previously teamed up with Gab Strum – aka Japanese Wallpaper – for 2021’s single track ‘Better’, and that influence shines through on their work on this album. The slow-burning ‘Loving Somebody’ moves into ‘The Cool Boy’, which feels like The 1975 without infuriating the Malaysian authorities.

In lockdown, Gretta broke down records on Instagram by a raft of acts, including the aforementioned Cheshire band, and Taylor Swift, whose influence is critical this record. ‘Can’t Keep It Casual’ is a nod to ‘reputation’-era Tay. But Gretta’s also a Kacey Musgraves fan, and this is her ‘Golden Hour’, brimming with gentle, honest heart, but with a ‘High Horse’-esque banger hiding in every corner.

Which brings us onto ‘You’ve Already Won’. It’s the last big pop song on a record being promoted with a tour called ‘The Big Pop Show’. It fulfils the brief, an epic primed for every high-tempo exercise playlist moving forward. It’s a list of gorgeous moments and a dizzying streak of items that tell a story, and instigate a million more tales. “Grocery that’s vacant at eight AM on a Monday morning”, “Converse and creek trails” and “cheeseboards and blow-up pools, feminist articles” are among my favourites right now – you’re sure to find your own. 

Gretta Ray marries that with the inverse ‘Light On’. It feels like her early EPs ‘Elsewhere’ and ‘Here and Now’, while venturing into new territory. It’s the emotional phone light moment in an arena show – here’s hoping ‘Positive Spin’ gets her there on her own terms.

Her first record had tributes to London, Paris, and Philadelphia. The second closes with another tribute to the States, ‘America Forever’, featuring vocals from co-writer Carol Ades and hit maker pal Maisie Peters – kick-ass women knowing to exalt their friends, not knock the stuffing out of them. 

Gretta Ray’s golden light and beautiful songwriting form a truly enjoyable pop record. It pulls back and forth across vibes, the contrasts of being young, but succeeds. I expect these songs to deliver on global stages. If there’s any justice, I expect more charming documentation of the world on our honey blonde’s future releases.

In the title track at the start of ‘Positive Spin’, Gretta says she wants to “make a change, be known as unique, fit the brief, make the grade”. She does all of this, comfortably. And now, we’re all positively spinning in her creation.

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