High Maintenance, by Miranda Cosgrove
This ep is five songs long and it is both the sort of music that I enjoy greatly but one that is less and less comfortable the more one thinks about it. For example, there is a quote from Miranda Cosgrove in the promotion of this EP that says that she had been working with Dr. Luke for a while and then he introduced her to Rivers Cuomo, who helped write and co-sing the title track to this EP. The two have decent chemistry, but Cosgrove was still a teenager when making this album and Rivers Cuomo was about 40, making their romantic chemistry a bit suspect. Again, this is musical material that is pretty familiar to anyone who liked pop music at the time, but it is music that actively discourages one from thinking too much about it because the more one thinks about it, the worse one feels for liking it and pondering what it means. Here is a track-by-track review:
Dancing Crazy: Aggressively co-written by Avril Lavinge, this song and its music video appear to have been the inspiration for “Friday,” released a few years later. It was a minor hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #100, and it shows Cosgrove singing a lot like Avril Lavinge, showing she studied the demo hard at least. I think it’s a cute song, but it’s not the sort of song that encourages one to think about the sort of fun that a girl has when she doesn’t know where she’s at and just goes along with the flow.
High Maintenance (f/Rivers Cuomo): This song is fun and enjoyable on a surface level, as it features Cosgrove playing the role of a fun girl who enjoys making Rivers Cuomo’s life more difficult, but again, Rivers was more than twice Miranda’s age, making it uncomfortable when she coos about knowing some games that they could play. I can see why she had fun making this song, but it feels uncomfortable to ponder the sort of relationship that is being portrayed by the song, and the singers’ obvious chemistry only makes it more uncomfortable.
The Face of Love: This song is a mix between the dance pop that predominates on this EP, which was pretty popular at the time, and a Hot AC approach that shows Cosgrove becoming more and more convinced that the guy she is with is the one, based on what she sees and what she hears. Again, as a pop song about love this is pleasant enough, but the more one thinks about it the more one thinks that this is likely not going to end well.
Kiss You Up: This song is my favorite on the EP, and it is also (not coincidentally), the one that is the most close to Adult Contemporary that this album provides. Rare among the songs on this EP, it is a song that sounds better the more one thinks about it, as Cosgrove resolves to be loving and affectionate and encouraging with a partner, a sentiment that I think is likely one that strikes home for the artist given the music she has released, although this song is certainly the exact sort of music I would want someone to be singing to me.
Sayonara: This song is a return to the dance pop that predominates here, and sounds like the lost b-side of Avril Lavinge’s “Hello Kitty” in terms of its lyrics and like a lost Nicki Minaj song with its beeping “pound the alarm-type” production. Fortunately Cosgrove can sing well and it is catchy enough, but those beeps and alarms can get pretty annoying, and they reminded me about some of the less pleasant aspects of the production of that era.
All in all this is an enjoyable collection that demonstrates Cosgrove’s attempt to maneuver her way into young adulthood by singing songs about love and devotion as well as being young, wild, and free. If you’re a fan of the pop music of the early 2010’s dance scene there is a lot to enjoy here, and Cosgrove has lots of charisma in her singing. This is material, though, that one would do well not to think too much about.