Nessa Barrett rocks Roadrunner

By Clara Faulkner, Managing Editor and Living Arts Editor

A sea of young adults wearing bedazzled pink cowboy hats and black lace outfits braved the cold outside Boston’s Roadrunner on March 6, eagerly awaiting TikTok musician Nessa Barrett’s Boston installment of her “young forever” tour, named after her first album.

Barrett, a rising social media star, has over 13 million followers across her platforms, a grand launching point for her original music—often described as alternative pop-rock with heavy electric guitar and pop chorus.

Her debut single “pain” kicked off her music career in 2020, and has amassed more than 150 million times on Spotify. Following the hit, she signed a deal with Warner Records. On Feb. 25, Barrett kicked off her tour, leaving fans eagerly anticipating her live performances as she travels the country performing “young forever.”

The album is a sultry take on modern pop that makes listeners yearn for both hardcore revenge and sweet love. Her unique sound and style have also earned her comparisons to other alternative icons like Billie Eilish and Halsey.

Critics have praised Barrett’s authenticity and said that her music is a breath of fresh air in the industry. With the release of “young forever,” it’s clear that she is on the path to becoming a major player in the music scene.

Barrett’s ability to evoke deep emotions through her music is what sets her apart from other singers, and her willingness to tackle difficult topics, like death and love, is a testament to her artistry.

Barrett’s performance was a powerful reminder of the importance of destigmatizing mental health and promoting open conversations about it. Her performance fostered a safe space for her fans to express their emotions and connect with each other.

The show opened with another TikTok star, Isabel Larosa, best known for “i’m yours,” a seductive ballad released in 2022 on TikTok about falling victim to love. Larosa played a rousing set that had the crowd dancing and bouncing to the bass. Her brother Thomas joined her on stage and provided untamed guitar backing.

Larosa’s performance was a perfect start to the show, setting Barrett up perfectly for a complementary set full of hard rock and pop. Her unique blend of alternative music left the audience eagerly anticipating what was to come next.

Barrett opened the show with “madhouse,” an upbeat song about the struggles she faces with her mental health, and how being in her mind can feel like being trapped in a “madhouse” at times. Her lyrics are emotional and introspective, with Nessa singing about feeling overwhelmed and lost in her thoughts.

Throughout the show, Barrett confided in fans about the pressure she faces from fame and social media, and how it can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and depression. Her vulnerability and authenticity on stage resonated with the audience as she shared personal stories and struggles.

She also encouraged her fans to prioritize their mental health and seek help if needed, reminding them that they are not alone in their struggles. To connect better with fans and also prioritize their wellbeing, Barrett invited audience members to write down their struggles on a piece of paper and light them on fire during the show as part of a “burn box” ritual. This symbolic act of releasing fears and fights was an influential moment that brought the audience together in a shared experience of catharsis.

The use of visual elements, such as white drapery and black clothing, added to the dramatic effect of her performance, creating a powerful and emotional experience for those in attendance. Her shadow replicated what she sings about: a girl alone with nothing surrounding her but herself.

The crowd was moved to tears by “die first,” a fan favorite and touching homage to Barrett’s late best friend and fellow TikTok star Cooper Noreiga, about not wanting to lose your loved ones and not wanting to live in a world without them.

Barrett’s performance was a reminder to her fans about the importance of mental health and overdose awareness. The raw emotion conveyed through her lyrics of “tell me what’s worse/ losing you now or later?” and her performance highlighted the need for continued support and resources. The crowd lit up like stars in the sky, using their flashlights to illuminate the stage for Barrett.

The show concluded with “i hope ur miserable until ur dead,” a tribute to self love and self-care—the perfect goodbye to an emotional night. In the song, Barrett sings about a toxic relationship that caused her pain and misery, and how she hopes the other person will suffer the same way she did. The song’s lyrics emphasize the importance of setting boundaries and prioritizing one’s own well-being over staying in a harmful relationship.

It serves as a reminder to listeners to prioritize self-love and self-care in their own lives, which was the perfect fiery farewell that symbolized Barrett’s music and upcoming career.

Throughout the show, Barrett proved herself to be one to watch in the industry—and hinted at upcoming music, leaving Boston fans seeking more revenge and appreciating the ones we love most.