This Betty Who article was written by Macon Oxley, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Jake Willis. Lead photo by Zach Cassar
‘Take Me When You Go’ marks an impressive breakout album for Betty Who. The singer (who recently performed in front of and received a shout-out from Barack Obama at the DNC LGBT Gala) really shines here with her own brand of energetic synthpop.
Following on from previous EPs, ‘The Movement’ and ‘Slow Dancing’, Who’s latest offering is her first full-length album – an upbeat pop package laden with catchy choruses and memorable hooks.
‘Just Like Me’ gives us our first look into the album. A plodding rhythm underpinned by synth bass and a steady beat sits underneath a somewhat reflective verse addressing an ex-lover: “I heard she’s beautiful, a twenty out of ten. That doesn’t keep me from wondering how you’ve been.” The rather unassuming verse is elevated slightly by the more euphoric, fuller sound of the chorus, picking us up a little and setting us up for what’s to come.
The first real standout moment, however, comes with the power pop perfection that is ‘Glory Days’. Much pacier than its predecessors and infectiously catchy, this number evokes the spirit of the similarly titled Bruce Springsteen track. And with the opening lyrics “Danny got himself a brand new Mustang; we put the ragtop down”, it would seem that the Boss’s influence on this song is far from accidental.
Listening on, there are obvious comparisons to be made with pop royalty Katy Perry. Though, whilst there are obvious similarities in voice and style, it would be very lazy to dismiss Betty Who as a sound-alike. Indeed, Who injects a great deal of her own personality into ‘Take Me When You Go’, even including brief glimpses of her Aussie inflection to set her voice apart.
Despite the large smatterings of euphoric, energetic pop, this album is far from one-dimensional. Tracks like ‘Missing You’ and ‘Better’ reveal the album’s delicate side with a more downbeat delivery with lyrical overtones of yearning and heartbreak.
The anthemic ‘Heartbreak Dream’ picks up the pace in perfect fashion, laying the tracks for a string of massive sounding pop blasts leading up to the closer.
Closing the album is the dream-inducing ‘California Rain’. Written when waking up to rain in California, where it notoriously never rains, here Who’s vocals take on a very soft guise. A very minimalistic backdrop – simply piano and ambient synth sounds – you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d ventured onto a completely different album here. Entirely different to the brash and bold that came before, this juxtaposition nevertheless seems to make sense of it all. A seemingly very personal song, it appears no other song would have done to end on.
If you like your pop turned up loud, full of energy and littered with delicious hooks, then you’ll surely love this album.
‘Take Me When You Go’ is out now via RCA Records.