EP REVIEW: Betty, Pt. 1 by Betty Who

Aussie power-house Betty Who is quickly ascending – soon to reach supernova status with her new EP, Betty, Pt. 1. 

It is safe to say that it won’t be long before she’s taking on the big guns in the world of pop. She is utterly in a league of her own, and puts her own spin on the pop genre, making her a much-needed breath of fresh air. 

With the success of her recent EPs, she has created a dedicated fan base, leaving her with a solid resume of sold-out tours in the US. And it’s not just the average listener who has taken note. 

Gay Times magazine aptly describes her music as ‘charming blasts of unapologetic pop’, while Wonderland goes so far as to state that ”with ultra-catchy hooks and super bouncy beats, Betty Who is undeniably a pop heroine.”  

If this wasn’t enough, she has collaborated with current movers and shakers Troye Sivan and Jarryd James. 2018 promises to be her year, especially if her successful repertoire is anything to go by. 

Recently cutting ties from major label Sony and returning to indie label Kobalt has given her further opportunity to mould her own music as a result of straying from the generic machine. She has recently said with regard to her move that she is now “completely connected and invested in every aspect of the release. It means I’m finally making all my own decisions and trusting my gut again. It’s so exciting.” 

Betty has already become cemented in pop-culture, from covering the Queer Eye theme tune to having her song ‘Somebody Loves You’ being covered in Glee – which had already achieved double Platinum Top 10 success in Australia. Who is clearly showing us that she is more than ready to build on her success with the release of her latest EP.

Betty, Pt. 1 artwork.

It’s a versatile 5-track masterpiece and showcases Who’s ability. Ranging from the opener ‘Just Thought You Should Know’, which is dripping with 80’s synth-pop vibes, it demands to be heard, to the finale of ‘Friend Like Me’, which is another outspoken track and seems to be characteristic of Who’s musical identity. 

As with many other artists  it quickly becomes apparent that her relationships and experiences have shaped her EP – namely her experience of love. Recently married to photographer Zak Cassar, the marriage is a mirror for Who’s conscientious drive, as she has stated, “why do something if you don’t want to be the best at it? I want to be the best at love, I want to be the best at everything that I do.” Hard work is evident whether in or out of the recording booth. Who takes her experiences and turns them into a relatable story, albeit with her trademark ‘breathless, defiant and passionate’ pop.

Starting with the opening track ‘Just Thought You Should Know’, it exhibits chilled pop vibes, making it very easy on the ear. It picks up at the chorus, with the melody blending with Who’s expressive vocals seamlessly. It’s a fresh introduction to the world of Betty Who, as the constant beat leads you to the centre of her electronic, relatable aesthetic. Other upcoming artists such as Fickle Friends and Clean Cut Kid are also doing their own versions of 80’s synth pop, however, Who manages to set herself apart especially with her exceptional songwriting prowess and exquisite vocals.

This is also shown with the next track ‘Taste’, this time exhibiting a dramatic and almost moodier vibe, with her breathy sultry vocals. It is full of hooks and therefore, screams for attention. The lyrics “the worse they are the better they taste” may be an overdone theme, but Who manages to make it hers and it still has an underlying pop characteristic. 

‘Look Back’ follows on with a strong, pounding beat. The introduction of a whistle is an unexpected yet effective twist. It is the most electronic track on the EP with catchy lyrics. The repetition of ‘’look back’’ isn’t at all tedious, as the overlaying of vocals make it an interesting listening experience. It is high energy and perhaps the stand out track on the whole EP. 

‘Ignore Me’ exhibits a slower side of Who’s work featuring fewer instruments, which allows her breathy vocals to take centre stage. The theme of ignoring someone is constantly relevant to the world we live in today. However, there is a twist as the 80’s synth-pop almost overrides the darker concept of a broken relationship. It is obvious Who used this as a method of catharsis and listeners everywhere will empathise with this. It is a conscious decision made by Who to turn her past into an art form, which continues the theme running through this EP. It was also co-written by Brett McLaughlin who has worked with the likes of Selena Gomez, which makes it easy to suggest that it could well be a hit.

Who ends the EP on a high with ‘Friend Like Me’. It is almost out of place on the record, as it is much slower than any of its predecessors. It features strumming on an acoustic guitar, rather than the almost classic Who synth-pop. However, its delicate and fragile vibes fit the intimate nature of the song. It’s raw and harrowing lyrics means it is just as hard-hitting as any song on this EP. It showcases the full range of Betty Who, and how she is impossible to predict, and we should merely expect the unexpected as she is capable of anything. This is perhaps the crux of what makes her so special and interesting.

Betty Who is an artist who may have been inspired by Britney over a decade ago and exudes 80’s synth vibes, but she is anything but dated. Her style is so uniquely futuristic and fresh that what she has is beyond comparison with any other artist and her fiery, abrasive pop leaves you with the sweetest sugar-high. 

Words: Camilla Whitfield 

Featured Image: Supplied by Jenna Knight PR

EP REVIEW: Betty, Pt. 1 by Betty Who
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