Single review by Vince Leigh
Quirky electro-pop with robust melodies
Me Tonight is the fourth single release from BARBARA, the bedroom project of former Canberran and now Sydney-based stand-up comedian, and former Fricker frontperson, Ian McCarthy.
The new track blends indie electro-pop with a smattering of dance, yet it is the peculiarities and quirkiness that rise to the surface. While utilising percussive keys and synths to set the pace, the song is segmented into melodically robust elements. The low-toned inflections of the vocal approach stand out, presenting an idiosyncratic and whimsical style that doesn’t fit neatly into any particular genre.
The production is minimal yet augmented by additional rhythmic elements, specifically the drum machine patterns, in what one might label the track’s chorus. Though those distinctions don’t necessarily seem apt. With an arrangement that adheres somewhat to ideas of generating intensity and dynamism—for example, the recurring background vocal parts, which give the sound a pleasing texture juxtaposed as it is against the more mechanised elements—the track veers from part to part in an amusing and affable way.
Me Tonight does build, with its inclusion of a semi-spoken bridge and added synth touches gracing the end. But it returns to the opening verse, so the impression is more cyclical than climactic. Me Tonight is high on quirk yet also attends to some necessary ingredients, such as melody, groove, indie sensibility, and committed performance. The track also features a few little lyric hooks, including the refrain, ‘nothing’s gonna stop me tonight,’ and, to a lesser extent, the more embedded kinds such as ‘If it gets you high at least it’s something.’ Indeed, if this track does get you there, it is something. BARBARA does a good job of selling the track, with detailed attention given to the attributes mentioned above, all blending soundly with a self-assured, unhindered vocal.
You can hear this track now on Spotify