Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Louisa Johnson – Best Behaviour

Louisa tried submitting a blurb for her own song but we were unable to run it due to the obvious conflict of interest concerns.


Katherine St Asaph: Gender, depicted in sound: where “Honey, I’m Good” oozes smarm, “Best Behaviour” oozes anxiety. Maybe it’s because the writers don’t seem to have decided whether their song is about cheating, or about internalized slut-shaming, or whether they’re just emulating Drake. The producers, however, know what they’re emulating: Middle Eastern strings (via Louisa’s vocalise), Yamaha percussion punches, a bass line Max Martin would approve, an terrified/thrilled octave jump. The result, perhaps fittingly, is good when it shouldn’t be.

Iain Mew: “Shouldn’t be out here doing what I like/But it feels so good, so good…” “I know that you’re good for me/I wanna be good to you.” Interesting that Louisa Johnson’s two singles so far are both internal conflicts over temptation, presented in terms of good and (implied) bad. Last time, giving into the temptation to go out despite having work in the morning felt good and got to win out. This time, giving into the temptation to break the trust of her partner and their “heart of porcelain” through unspecified actions doesn’t get to win out. I think it’s that moral context that makes the controlling relationship undertones of “Best Behaviour” feel heavy-going and a bit creepy in a way that I don’t get enough of a feeling is intentional, for all the tension of its sounds. The unanswered question: why not go out there and do what you like, if the alternative feels so bad?

Alfred Soto: A trophy for best conduct and she’s damn proud of it.

Thomas Inskeep: Straight-down-the-middle generic pop circa 2017: a little EDM whooshy, a little dancehall riddim, a bland female vocal. And that, my friends, is why the radio sucks right now.

Megan Harrington: Let’s pretend this mix of melon sunset synths and trap drums hasn’t oversaturated the market to the extent that only the fruit at the very top isn’t rotted. Even then, Louisa Johnson is about as sexy and convincing as a fifth grader angling for dinner at Chili’s. “Best Behaviour” is a jam for when you’ve run out of bad impulses but still need something to forget. 

Will Adams: It’s not surprising to learn that “Best Behaviour” shares a co-writer with “Touch,” given how of the moment it sounds. Fortunately for Johnson, she’s less in the realm of Little Mix’s bland sass and beginning to approach Tove Lo. The typical fault of TV contest winners still applies — it’s too polite to make an impact beyond “competent” and “not actively bad” — but the brief flashes of potential here are noteworthy.

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