As I said when we reviewed her singles ‘Touch’ and ‘Say something’ previously, Theresa Rex is a force to be reckoned with. Starting musical life as a busking jazz singer she’s been streamed, mainly indirectly (i.e. with other artists), a billion times just on Spotify, she’s sung for everything from indie groups to metal girl bands and her influences range across the likes of Gladys Knight, Debbie Harry and Janis Joplin. You can’t get much more eclectic than that.
On her own she tends to write intelligent pop about subjects like the need to have her voice heard all the time (‘Say Something’) and her choice to cut herself off from the world when she was undergoing treatment for a serious illness (‘Touch’).
This song is about being stabbed in the back by a friend who stole her boyfriend (I guess it might be the same one who featured in ‘Touch’).
Her songs are bubbly and bouncy and often at odds with the dark subject matter. This one certainly is.
It has a bass line such that I can’t think of a better representation of a heart beat when you’ve been stabbed in the back, either figuratively or metaphorically.
The upshot seems to be that while she can’t forgive the friend for her actions she’s tempted to because he’s a nasty piece of work anyway as the ex-friend is about to find out.
In fact it has the most convoluted opening verse I think I’ve heard for a while, a maelstrom of contrasting emotions:
“Cried on your shoulder, I can’t forget that night/
Said you had my back, put a knife in it/
What’s up with that?”
Those three lines encompass the entire tenet of the song.
The standard of her lyricism is particularly high throughout; she writes better English than many British songwriters. I submit the next two verses as evidence, Your Honour:
“You had your hand in my pocket all this time/
I’m losing it/
Hanging on by a thread but this friendship’s dead/
You ruined it”
“You’re the one who told me low key/
This guy’s stone cold crazy/
So why’d you go and take him from me?/
Messed me up”.
That really is pretty clever.
On previous tracks I noted similarities to Alanis Morissette and Lily Allen, with accentuation varying from Brooklyn to Brentwood. This time it’s just Theresa pure and simple. And she’s the King.
‘Bad Blood’ is out now.
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