We’ll be your Valentine! We’re so lonely…
Patrick St. Michel: A peppy bit of synth-pop boasting a beastly hook… sounds great! Yet “Somebody Loves You” hides emotions that are more complicated than all the bright touches indicate. Betty Who sounds like she’s trying to convince a significant other about her devotion, like she’s leaving notes all over the apartment spelling out her feelings. This extra dimension makes the song that much better, though even without it that big chorus probably still would have worked.
Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: This interview with Betty Who is definitely worth a read as it lays out her inspiration for the song’s sound (Whitney Houston’s perkiest era of soul-pop), the time period in her life that brought about the yearning chorus (a depressed boyfriend unable to accept her love), and an already-immortal quote about her dating track record (“I imagine dating Justin Vernon would be very similar to dating this guy”). It is a shame that the song cannot live up to the promise she shows here, and in some way that fault lies with Who — her delivery is a touch too rational for the subject matter, only feeling appropriately devil-may-care as the song comes to its close. Still, it’s a promising introduction to Who, who may just be a better match for the gorgeously icy-sounding outro than the major-key melodies she attempts here.
Anthony Easton: The market nature of desire — the idea that trading love could be easy, or that it automatically reaches a kind of reciprocity — is painfully naive, but she sells the notion and ends the argument with pure crystalline energy. And what may very well be glockenspiels. Which is awesome.
Alfred Soto: If I say “Lose the sawtooth synths, please,” the track wouldn’t summon the “1984″ sound as well. If I asked, “Can we show some personality?” the Everywoman normality of its sentiments would curdle into narcissism. Somebody loves you, Betty.
Crystal Xia: It’s a perfectly pleasant pop song with production that sounds influenced by the 80s and Passion Pit. However, the chorus feels like it’s told in second person, and her message to her object of affection comes off as perplexing and maybe a little preachy rather than coy and cute.
Rebecca A. Gowns: I’ve heard this a few times in the past couple of weeks. It keeps growing on me! It’s cute as heck! Really great driving beat, and she’s got the potential to be a certified popstar. I want to see more from her!
Ian Mathers: brb putting this on my “mix material for my wife” playlist (damn it why did I already use Alphabeat’s “Heatwave”? this would have gone perfectly with that)
Scott Mildenhall: This sounds ready for a large audience, and that’s mainly because it’s got that wondrous quality of clarity. Everything is in place: lyric, melody, production, all heading right down the same line. It sounds exactly like Alphabeat would if they kicked out and replaced Stine — and there’s a group who know that it sometimes helps not to get adventurous.
Brad Shoup: While they’re retooling The Mindy Project, why not give the theme a look? Betty’s no Beyoncé Pad Thai, but it does kind of sound like “Schoolin’ Life,” and Mindy would probably find something Bridget Jonesy here, even if it’s just cos the singer is British and female. Anyway, this sounds massively important, so maybe combining it with The Mindy Project will create some multiplying affect that keeps the show on for 10 years and gets the A.V. Club off its jock.
Will Adams: “Somebody wants to hear you say, ‘Ooh, somebody loves you.’” It was at that line that the switch flipped, and I knew that this was a gem. Betty Who understands that love can be as selfish as it is selfless; the above line nails that ambiguity, and it only enhances the rest of the song. The questions in the first verse – “Who thinks that you’re one of a kind?”– could just as plausibly be answered with “you” as with “me.” Each time I’ve listened to this, I’ve asked myself: am I singing these words, or is someone singing to me? In “Somebody Loves You,” it’s both. As many times as I’ve hoped to be receiving love from a certain someone, I’ve hoped to be the personw ho gives that love to another. “Somebody Loves You” made me realize that, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Katherine St Asaph: Happy Valentine’s Day! Have a Nice Girl(tm) anthem, delivered with all the cultural force of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” It’s rhetoric nobody can refuse — if you think Whitney’s all for your crush, why shouldn’t he reciprocate? — but, inevitably, influence nobody can match.