No one captures unrequited love like FLTY BRGR GRL. In their latest album Love You Forever, the Oslo-based garage pop duo not only highlights the heart-fluttering, adrenaline-pumping parts of crushing, but also the realizations that come once the fantasy of the crush has been shattered. They put music to the high school feeling of memorizing someone’s class schedule so you know when you’ll glimpse them in the halls, to the thought spirals that come when you’re wondering how much to confess. Even the album title, Love You Forever, has the double edge of confidence and innocence – a promise that we’ve all made and learned we can’t usually keep.

The record, like the feelings of first love, bounces between highs and lows. Although the sound stays relatively consistent, with strong 60s influences, love ballads, and pop rock anthems prevailing, the feelings expressed in the songs go from deep passion to deep regret. In the initial track, “Crazy,” FLTY BRGR GRL starts off by questioning someone in the aftermath of what feels like a breakup, speaking to a lover and wondering about where they’ve landed. By the middle of the album, on “Sweet Boy,” questions are raised about whether these relationships are real or all in their heads, fantasized to the point that they’ve convinced themselves, “I know he’ll come around.”

It is this creeping realization that stands out most on the record: the suspicion that bleeds through, one that tells us the people we’ve built up in our heads can’t be fully real. They ask, can you love someone and observe them at the same time? FLTY BRGR GRL obsesses over obsession and what it means to think about someone every day; they question the consequences of articulating such specific desires.

On “Duet,” they berate themselves for mistakes made in a relationship, and the chorus, “I think this might be destiny,” speaks to a reflexive refrain, a comfortable place to land while processing the pain of a relationship rather than a true belief.

The DIY visual aesthetic FLTY BRGR GRL brings to the album is one that leans into the softness and stereotypical femininity of discussions on crushing. They use soft pinks and light purples, and the font on the cover of Love You Forever brings to mind bubble letter notes passed in elementary school that would read, “Do you like me? Check yes or no.”

The video for “Sweet Boy” has an intimacy that contrasts the distance felt between them and the object of their desire. They subvert romantic norms by using this look to bring up the more crazed, complicated, deeper feelings that come with love. It’s all bubbly and playful until, like on the song “No More,” the crush has worn off and they plead, “Let’s stop before we get too far.”

Love You Forever is available now on streaming.

Photo: Guro Sommer