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Accidental song review, 'Man Baby' — The Pretty Littles

Early this year I had an opportunity to write up freelance music reviews. Since I had never written a music review, the outlet gave me a song and asked me to write my opinions. Here's the song.

I whipped up a piece for them, and was promptly informed that it didn't conform to the typical format of a music review. I didn't much care to learn that format so I didn't pursue it any further.

I instantly forgot about the experience until I ran into my article on hhhhappy.com while looking for something else. I suppose it's okay to re-publish here, since the original piece* went up without consulting me. *They wrote their title (I can barely figure out how to read it). Here's my uncouth/misguided review.


The Pretty Littles — Man Baby

Jesse Hawley

Ever feel like that baby from the cover of Nevermind, a hapless infant chucked in the deep-end of an adult’s world? The Pretty Littles’ latest single, Man Baby, is about just that.

 
 

The Pretty Littles return with a new slacker rock anthem Man Baby. A slightly new direction for the band but it works nonetheless.

The track opens with mellow and almost lazy chords, uncharacteristic of the charged tracks normally produced by the group. The lead and bass enter with equally disengaged parts to play. The drums add some vigour to the track, but maintain a chilled tempo and pulse throughout. Once the vocals enter with the lyrics’ story, it becomes apparent why the track is played with such abandon. Man Baby’s draw is surely the vocals.

The lyrics describe that paranoia we all get when we’re in too deep — not up for the job, a child hiding in an adult’s body. But instead internal paranoia, the confronting news is delivered by a stoned girlfriend. Her voice is beautiful, but detached as she dishes the harsh words, “Honey, you’re such a nice guy, but you’re just not a man in my eyes”.

The rest of the band continues to take a back seat and push the conversation to the fore. We then hear the deluded defence from the broken-hearted sung simply and without melody, “But I’m a man, babe, I’m a man about town”. It is easy to imagine the rest of the band dejected, playing their bar chords and snare insolently after similar clashes with their partners.

 
 

After the second verse, the pre-chorus picks up the intensity with a call and response (or desperate jab and effortless beat down) in a staggered rhythm similar to the 90’s anthem You Get What You Give, a track about youth behaving like adults when the adults cannot. The complete opposite: Baby men, if you will. The pre-chorus crescendos into a heavier, more intense variation of the main theme complete with percussive crashes, messy chords, and full-blown rejection spouting in the lyrics — out of character for a stoner, surely.

The track maintains its newer, messier form, and shifts into a guitar solo with the same fragmented lead as at the opening. Over the top of the solo, the lyrics loop over the same sentiment, “You’re talking out of time”, an earlier stab at the petulant boyfriend. The intensity of the song gradually diminishes into a pleasant and harmonic wooing, presumably the mutual sulking between split lovers: mature woman and hurt man baby.

This was a pleasant, if depressing and ‘too-close-too-home’, track. It was much more sedate and mature than The Pretty Littles’ other ditties — an interesting glimpse into the direction the band might be growing towards in the future.