Brie Larson walked away from the 88th Academy Awards with a Best Actress statuette for her devastating, widely praised performance in Room as a young woman who spends years confined in a filthy shed, cut off from the outside world before finally being given her freedom. But a decade before that watershed dramatic performance, Larson was attempting to sell herself to the public as a pop singer in the Hilary Duff vein. Perhaps trying to keep the award-winning actress humble, Jezebel‘s Bobby Finger is taking this opportunity to remind fans of Larson’s long-forgotten pop star past. The singer-actress’ discography begins and ends with a 2005 LP on the Casablanca label called Finally Out Of P.E. With domestic sales only in the quadruple digits, this autobiographical concept album about the life of an American teenager was not enough to make Larson into the next Ashlee Simpson. Fortunately, a promising movie career lay ahead.
Finally Out Of P.E. did manage to spawn four singles, however. The first of these, “She Said,” was a subject of a now-fascinating music video showing Larson on the cusp of stardom. The clip follows Larson, then 16, through a tumultuous day laboring at a hellish, unnamed fast food restaurant. She arrives late and is chewed out by a dirtbag manager. Then she gets revenge on a couple of Paris Hilton types by serving them burgers that had been dropped on the undoubtedly filthy floor. She also manages to flirt somewhat with a cute guy who stops by the restaurant. The dramatic highlight, however, is when a dispute with a customer leads to a physical alteration, with Larson actually tackling a curly-haired dude in a Napoleon Dynamite “Vote For Pedro” T-shirt. It’s pretty badass. She gets fired, naturally, but manages to trash the kitchen before she leaves. In a way, though the music is FM-friendly pop pabulum, the video’s anarchic spirit is pure punk rock. In retrospect, Larson’s flat, nasal, keening voice would have been perfect for a Sex Pistols cover band.