Betty Who might not be known to a whole lot of people — even her surprise hit ‘Somebody Loves You’ wasn’t quite the major viral breakthrough as reported by the media — but with records such as the sprightly, bright debut record Take Me When You Go under her belt and bearing her name, it’s no big surprise that Betty is being tipped as someone to watch.
In case you hadn’t already guessed from my above statement, Take Me When You Go is really, really good pop music.
Betty truly shines on her gloriously, un-apologetically upbeat numbers, the true highlights of the album if one had to decide. One of the songs of the summer, the effervescent ‘Somebody Loves You’ is an obvious highlight, radiating self-affirming love through every pore, although cuts such as the relentlessly catchy ‘All of You’, and the fan favourite standout ‘High Society’ are equally worthy of your time and affection, supplying more than enough candy-coated power pop to fight the cold, dark nights ahead. Betty’s music always seems partially — either sonically or lyrically — rooted in an homage to the sweet bubblegum pop of the ’60s, and such aural sunshine as ‘Glory Days’, the achingly euphoric ode to halcyon days, confirms this, with its shiny, sunshine-flecked pop sound and spiritual sorority with Lady Gaga’s ‘The Edge of Glory’.
The slower numbers are just as excellent — album closer ‘California Rain’ is a truly gorgeous and melancholic piece of elegant ambient-pop which ends the album on a sweetly sad and soporific note. Betty’s vocals are always lovely, and evoke Robyn’s own, an often-compared contemporary; they truly shine on balladry such as the ’80s-infused ‘A Night to Remember’ which is mid-tempo heartbreak 101, and the lo-fi electronic pop of ‘Missing You’. Even the mid-tempo cuts — the soaring standout ‘Runaways’ and the future karaoke standard ‘Alone Again’ come to mind here — acquit themselves well.
No album is without room for improvement — opener ‘Just Like Me’ didn’t really click, and a lot of the album’s sugar rush can wear off if consumed in huge quantities — but this is by and large a commendable album, carving out a pop identity that we’ve been sorely missing. Take Me When You Go is one of those rare things — a brilliant pop album that feels like a debut album, a fresh start, and yet feels confidently established. The songs are bright and joyous, if a little too similar at time, and given that few major pop artists have released full LPs this year, this album is a bit of a gift.
Now, time to go dance to ‘Somebody Loves You’ just one more time…