“Baby Drugs” – Tristen

The perpetual pop paradox is that we love fresh, snappy, catchy music and yet when it really really works, when it’s super-duper fresh and snappy and catchy, it can spread its joy maybe too widely, maybe even get caught up in a cultural moment, and then the fresh and snappy and catchy gets over-exposed, played to death, and sounds like our worst enemy rather than the best friend it used to be. Think K.T. Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See,” as one example. There are many others; feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.

“Baby Drugs,” from the one-named Nashville-based singer/songwriter Tristen, is exactly this kind of fresh, snappy, catchy, carefree, spirited romp that anyone with a smile in his or her heart would want in a music collection, on a hard drive, in a playlist, coming out of speakers or ear buds, on a bright blue day or a blowy rainy day or anything in between (consult a nearby window to see which applies). Those crisp guitars, that toe-tapping backbeat, those overlapping, descending melody lines in the non-chorus-like chorus. It’s not very complicated, which itself becomes another perpetual pop paradox: a song has to sound simple to stick with you, but if it’s too simple it can seem a waste of mind-space, basically. The trick, I think, is that not everything that sounds simple is actually all that simple. Good pop finds a way to channel sophistication through accessible gestures. Having a voice with a bell-like clarity, as Tristen does, doesn’t hurt. Neither does being two and a half minutes long.

“Baby Drugs” is the backing side of Tristen’s 7-inch single, “Eager For Your Love,” released last month on American Myth Recordings. Her full-length debut, Charlatans at the Gate, is due out in February. MP3 via American Myth.

  1. Mr. Shuffleupagus on Tuesday January 25, 2011

    “Baby Drugs” is my tune of the day:
    Makes you want to go out, become an addict, and fall in love. Adorable.