Please Protect Julie Ragbeer

Please Protect Julie Ragbeer

BYTobias HessFeb 27, 2024

If your life is charmed enough to have spent your weekend outside touching grass, then you’re likely to have come to Twitter/X on Monday confounded by the ubiquitous presence of one Julie Ragbeer. Ragbeer, whose personal biography is still elusive, is a seemingly ordinary young girl who’s recently become notable for her indisputable chutzpah and pop aspirations. Her debut single, 2019's "Rejected," is a happy-sad bedroom pop ode to the turbulent triumph of facing rejection. Though she’s since uploaded a few songs and a Gospel EP called My Father,Ragbeer seems to have spent the five years since her first pop offering as a student. Well, fate (and a little paid promotion) have set Ragbeer on a new course. Today, she seems destined for stardom, or, at least niche, gay Twitter celeb status.

On Thursday, February 22, Pop Tingz, the prolific pop culture news X account (and estranged cousin of the supreme, Pop Crave), shared Ragbeer’s debut album Perplex, which was released in July 2023. Savvy users immediately noticed that Ragbeer’s X account was private (it has since been opened up to the adoring public) and only had 100 followers. They also began to note that Ragbeer’s music was unknown to just about everyone, with streaming numbers in the very low thousands or hundreds. The oddity of Pop Tingz's promotion was funny at first, but it was Ragbeer and her work that propelled those knowing smiles into something more ravenous.

In a time when most bedroom-pop hopefuls offer us little more than whispered plucks and cliché yearnings, Ragbeer's music stands out. On “Older Guys,” she croons atop a funky churn of slap bass and drums. “I want a man/ I don’t a boy” her voice calls out, doused in reverb. In the song’s video, she sings from her bedroom in a variety of looks, my favorite being a hot pink number. At one point, she showcases her Lana Del Rey CD collection. Other fan-favs include “Mary Whilton Calkins,” a literal ode to Calkins, who, per my Wikipedia investigation, was an “American philosopher and psychologist, whose work informed theory and research of memory, dreams and the self.” Ragbeer sings of Calkins: “Scientists got nothing on her/ She made the way/ Yeah, she paved the way, yeah/ Establishing laboratories just like that.”

Finding her reckless abandon charming, her music lovably odd and her persona captivatingly unique, Gay Twitter has latched on, spawning a whole language of memes from the Ragbeer-iverse. All the hubbub has translated into real numbers for the nascent pop star. As of Tuesday, February 27, she has more than 21,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, when just yesterday, the number was 600. On X, too, she has more than 8K followers, after being just another anonymous private account a week ago.

The whole thing reminds me a bit of Emily Montes, the child who, in tandem with her family, uploaded a series of kooky, hyperpop-ified pop songs to Spotify, and which found a cultural following for their somewhat random charm. All of this was in good fun, but I’d also like to add a word of warning here: to quote Ragbeer’s fav, Taylor, Swift “I’ve seen this film before/ And I didn’t like the ending.” Gay men on the internet seem to make a sport out of finding random women, be they from social media or reality TV, and celebrating them in a Bacchic haze of irony. In this space, having fun with and having fun at the expense of can blur, and the anonymous Swiftie/XCX/Arianator accounts can hide behind the cover of just having inscrutable, hyper-brained, internet fun.

Thankfully, Ragebeer is “focusing on the light you give me, forgetting the hate and always knowing there’s room to improve,” per a recent post, referring to the onslaught of attention to her music. But this, I’m sure, is a lot — and becoming a meme and a niche celeb can be thrilling and terrifying for someone who last week was just an ordinary girl.

Photos via YouTube/ Julie Ragbeer

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