Nessa Barrett is combating cuffing season on “if u love me,” her hypnotic new single out now on Warner Records. Backed by trap hi-hats and ominous 808 bass, she sings dreamily, but the message is haunting — a warning of the ways love can drive you to think, say, and do things you otherwise wouldn’t. It’s a romantic-revenge anthem crackling with dark-pop energy.
“if u love me” reveals a previously unknown side of Barrett, 18, formally launched her music career in July with “Pain,” a minimally produced piano ballad all about releasing internal hurt that has amassed over 22 million video and audio streams. On “if u love me,” Barrett turns her focus outward, bluntly calling out her ex’s missteps and promising retribution. The chorus is delivered delicately, but it comes with a chilling warning: “When my heart goes cold,” she sings. “I hold my demons close and I don’t let go.”
“This song is a total flip from ‘Pain,’” says Barrett. “‘if u love me’ is more badass, more edgy, and explains that if you hurt me, I’ll hurt you back. Still, within all that, there’s another emotion that comes out: feeling guilty that you hurt someone you love even though they hurt you first.”