Ashnikko DEMIDEVIL Parlophone
A hint of sugar paired with a large helping of spice, Ashnikko is most comfortable when exploring extremes. The blue-haired femdom, outfitted like a Japanese Lolita, first appeared on the viral radar in 2019 with single Stupid, a venemous and effortlessly catchy dismissal of fuck boys that launched a million TikTok dances.
DEMIDEVIL, her debut mixtape, is laced with her characteristic sweetly-spoken murderous rage. It is also a statement of intent musically, showcasing her brash, inventive take on genre. This is, after all, an album where bubblegum-flavoured hyperpop meets pop punk and stripped back rap production. The album’s brilliant first single Cry – featuring Grimes – sees Ashnikko rapping over crunchy emo-adjacent guitar riffs, as she warns “careful with me, I’m homicidal.” A good introduction to her world as any.
Most noticeable of all, the mixtape drips with early noughties nostalgia – albeit made fresh through a Gen-Z lens: L8r Boi reworks the lyrics of Avril Lavigne’s 2002 classic (the lyrics twisted into “Honestly she/ was better off alone/ now he’s breathing down the phone”); Deal With It samples Kelis’ Caught Out There; Toxic feels like the modern rendering of teen angst hits like Potential Break-up Song or 4ever, but gone are the passive accusations. In their stead, a bristling confidence and sex positivity.
For all the cartoonishness though, there are brief glimpses of vulnerability. Good While It Lasted is a slow, acoustic jam about a break-up that feels like a wizard behind the curtain moment, a peeling back of the bravada to reveal heartbreak. A reminder that pop stars – even subversive, homicidal, blue-haired, future-facing ones – are human too.