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Song You Need to Know: Rin McArdle, ‘Something Blue’

McArdle’s rousing collaboration with Georgia Maq is a standout track on her newly released debut album

Rin McArdle

Nick Mckk

“Rin McArdle is your favourite songwriter’s favourite songwriter for a reason.” 

This headline, which I wrote a few months ago for Tone Deaf, borders on hyperbole, but within Melbourne’s close-knit music community at the very least, the statement rings true.

Co-signs with Angie McMahon, Courtney Barnett, and many more; writing credits on Bec Sandridge’s debut album; a supporting slot for Diesel; performances with Camp Cope, including on US TV. The list could go on.

After helping out everyone else with their music for a long time, McArdle shared “Splinters”, her first single in five years, at the beginning of 2023, and it opens her self-titled debut album, released into the world today.

It’s just eight tracks long but not a moment is spared, not a word wasted. As naming her album after herself suggests, McArdle is not wasting time pursuing her solo artistry anymore. These tracks are cathartic and momentous, full of anguished emotion and unvarnished reckonings with the past.

“Rin McArdle’s refusal to bend to traditionalist methods stems from the therapeutic purpose that her songwriting serves,” as a press release so delicately put it.

On her debut album, McArdle offers her entire self to her listener: from her struggles with a heroin addiction to being victimised by a controlling partner, no story is too raw to be left untold.

A standout track is “Something Blue”, a rousing collaboration with Georgia Maq of the aforementioned Camp Cope. “I raised my hands (raised my hands) to the heavens high (heavens high) / But hell was on earth and heaven’s a lie,” are lyrics that burn themselves into a listener’s mind.

Perhaps McArdle’s solo stint will be short-lived – some musicians love the thrill of making someone else’s work shine – but on the basis of the singer-songwriter’s debut album, she’d do well to go it alone for a while longer; these eight tracks are introspective indie rock of the highest order.

Rin McArdle’s self-titled debut album is out now.