On her new album TR3S, singer/songwriter BRATTY opens up about all that’s weighing on her heart: her anxieties and insecurities and deepest infatuations, the singular pain of feeling too much, the strange disconnect of dealing with seasonal depression in the summertime. In an evolution of the unguarded storytelling that’s made her one of the most compelling young artists to emerge in recent years, the 23-year-old Mexico native sets that introspection to a bright and dreamy form of indie-pop/surf-rock, lit up in her sweetly disarming vocal work and effervescent melodies. The latest triumph in a breakout year that’s included making her U.S. debut with a much-celebrated set at Coachella, TR3S ultimately finds an unlikely power in absolute sensitivity.
Named for her lucky number, BRATTY’s third full-length expands on the graceful musicality she first began honing by self-recording songs in her bedroom at age 16. In bringing the 12-song album to life, the self-taught multi-instrumentalist worked with producer Julián Bernal (a Latin Grammy Award winner known for his work with artists like Cuco and Elsa y Elmar), shaping a more elaborate sound while embracing a certain unbridled freedom in the creative process. “Julián really helped me to challenge myself with my vocals and guitar-playing, but at the same time the main focus of the whole album was to have fun and be true to myself,” says BRATTY, otherwise known as Jenny Juárez. “With my last record I overthought everything: what I was going to write about, how to express it in a way that people could relate to and identify with. This time I just wanted to get back to doing what felt right, like I did when I first started this project.”
The follow-up to Es Mi Fiesta Y Si Quiero Hago Un—a five-song EP featuring guest spots from the likes of Spanish indie-rock band Hinds—TR3S brings BRATTY’s understated yet captivating songwriting to tracks like the luminous lead single “Estos Días.” “That song came from writing and writing and getting out everything I was feeling at the time,” Juárez recalls. “To me it’s about being trapped in some kind of loop, where the days go by and you feel like you can’t make any decisions to move your life forward. You’re looking around at everyone else, and wondering why you’re the only one who seems to feel stuck like that.” A perfect vessel for her heart-melting voice, “Estos Días” captures that sense of isolation in its sparse guitar tones and spacey synth lines—then takes on a powerful intensity at the bridge, briefly transforming into an exhilarating anthem.
Like only the most gifted of pop songwriters, BRATTY possesses a preternatural talent for making sadness feel indelibly sweet. To that end, the airy and lilting “Agosto” offers up a pensive meditation on the passing of time, arriving as an irresistibly summery pop song about summer-specific heartache. “I know most people tend to experience seasonal depression in the winter, but for me it always happens in summer,” says Juárez. “My birthday is in August and I always get overwhelmed by that feeling of another year passing by, and it makes me so nostalgic.” An all-encompassing outlet for the most difficult emotions, TR3S also examines the grief and confusion of fading connection on “Ya No Es Lo Mismo”—a gloriously moody piece of new-wave-leaning pop, co-written by fellow Mexican singer/songwriter Billy Miamor. “Billy showed me that song and I fell in love with this story of a watching a relationship die and wanting to hold on so badly, so I asked him if I could keep it,” says Juárez. Another track penned by Miamor, “La Última Vez” unfolds in fuzzed-out riffs and frenetic textures as BRATTY channels the oddly addictive nature of obsession. “It’s a song about telling yourself that it’s the last time you’re going to call someone, the last time you’re going to text them, the last time you’re going to stalk them on social media,” says Juárez. “But of course it’s never the last time, because you’re still waiting for them to come around.”
For Juárez, one of the most thrilling moments in the creation of TR3S took place during the writing of “Radio,” a sublimely cathartic track fueled by frenzied rhythms and explosive guitar riffs. “‘Radio’ is definitely one of the songs that came from not worrying about what anyone else would think,” she says. “It’s about how listening to the radio makes me so depressed, because it’s always the same songs by the same artists instead of something new and exciting. But then it’s also about my own intrusive thoughts and the self-doubt that creeps in whenever I start thinking, ‘Well, if they’re not playing my music on the radio, then maybe I’m doing something wrong.’” (The first song shared from TR3S, “Radio” immediately proved to be undeniably resonant, with Consequence highlighting the track as a “Song of the Week” and praising it as “another delightful slice of sunny indie rock that highlights her silky vocals and exquisite songwriting.”)
Originally from the northwestern Mexico city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, Juárez first explored her musical side at the age 11 by teaching herself to play One Direction songs on piano. Within several years she’d also taken up guitar, mostly learning by ear with the occasional help of YouTube tutorials. “No one ever taught me anything—I always had this great curiosity and wanted to learn everything myself,” she says. Although she started out playing covers, Juárez soon tapped into the lyrical skills she’d developed by writing poetry in her early teens and began creating songs of her own, mining inspiration from female-fronted indie-pop acts Alvvays, Snail Mail, and Best Coast. “It meant a lot to me to see someone writing from a woman’s point of view about growing up, falling in love, falling out of love, discovering yourself,” she notes.
With her artist name nodding to an early Best Coast song, BRATTY made her debut with Todo Está Cambiando, a 2018 EP recorded entirely in her bedroom. “I learned how to sound-proof my room and made the beats myself and figured out how to get that surfy guitar sound that I loved,” she says. “I was so proud to make something bigger than just my voice and folky guitar.” The following year, BRATTY featured on the viral smash “Ropa de Bazar” by Mexican singer/songwriter Ed Maverick and delivered her debut album Delusión, then inked her deal with Universal Music Mexico. With her sophomore album tdbn released in 2021, BRATTY’s reach soon grew far beyond her homeland and led to such accolades as landing on Billboard’s “Latin & Spanish Artists to Watch in 2023” list. As she geared up to play Coachella (earning recognition as the only Mexican-born artist on the 2023 lineup), BRATTY found herself hailed as a must-see act by major outlets like Entertainment Weekly, with the Los Angeles Times anointing her Mexico’s “reigning garage-pop queen.”
Even as her profile continues to rise, Juárez has stuck with the self-contained creative approach she first adopted as a DIY artist. “When I’m writing songs I prefer to be alone in my bedroom, with all the time I need,” she says. “It’s like when you’re writing in your diary—you need to be completely connected to yourself and not worry about the outside world.” And in her live show, she aims to extend that sense of unfiltered intimacy to her audience. “I always try to be as genuine as I can and make everyone feel safe and secure,” she says. “I always tell them they don’t have to think about anything going on outside this room, and that all that matters is what they’re feeling right now.”
By creating space for listeners to fully experience and process their most complicated feelings—both live and on record—BRATTY hopes to catalyze the same transcendent shift in perspective that she unfailingly finds in the music she loves most. “When I listen to a lot of my favorite artists, their songs make me feel like my life is a movie,” she says. “I’d love it if my music could help people feel like they’re in their own little world, but also connected to someone who understands everything they’re going through. To me that’s the most magical thing about music: how you can so be far away from a person physically, but still make them feel less alone.”
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