2020 has been tumultuous to say the least. With most of the year wiped out by a certain p*ndemic, the highlights have been few and far between. Taylor Swift releasing folklore (reviewed here) and getting to interview Black Honey before seeing them live have been two major bright spots, and now a third has arrived on the scene. The release of Bella Latham, better known as Baby Queen’s, debut EP.
When I first heard her debut single and EP opener ‘Internet Religion’, lying on the floor of my parents sitting room back in June, I had no idea I was listening to someone I am now convinced has the potential to one day reach Taylor Swift levels of fame, success, and critical acclaim. With her unique and refreshingly sincere brand of pop Baby Queen has started building her kingdom, laying the foundations for a musical dynasty to re-write the rulebook. With 3 albums, each with distinct eras, already planned, the future looks bright.
But enough chit-chat. You’re here for the tunes. I’ll only talk about ‘Want Me’ and ‘Online Dating’, as I’ve previously reviewed the rest in more depth than I’d want my editor to have to slog through here. Links for these articles are at the bottom.
‘Want Me’ closes the A side in a flurry of adolescent crushing on Killing Eve actress Jodie Comer. It has the sort of non-stop energy of a similarly obsessive pop-punk piece, and when a fairly hefty bassline kicks in with the chorus it leans that way sonically too. While this means the instrumentation is less excitingly creative than on her other singles, Bella more than makes up for this with the joy and genius of the lyrics, particularly in the middle eight:
“Je ne parle même pas vraiment français
Mais je le traduis un peu pour avoir l’air
Romantique, dangereux et mystérieux”BABY QUEEN – ‘WANT ME’
I wasn’t a huge fan on my first listen, but its brought about a realisation that’s important as a music listener – music doesn’t have to be deep or meaningful or completely fresh to have meaning. To be fun, something people enjoy listening to, is just as valuable in music, if not more so.
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I have something to tell you 🤫 The EP is moving again 🤫 But this time it’s moving 2 days earlier. SURPRISE. ‘Medicine’ EP out on Wednesday 11th (2 fucking days). This video makes me kind of emotional because Internet Religion came out in May and I don’t know how we did this in 5 months. 5 months!! I love you guys so much we’re only a little Kingdom but we’re really doing it like we said we would!!!! Baby Kingdom forever and ever 👑👑👑 this is the beginning of my favourite story in the world. they have noooooo idea.
Closer ‘Online Dating’ is by far the chilliest track on the EP. The vibes are intensely laid back, the epitome of anti-pop slacker. It brings together the lyrical themes of the whole EP with extra focus on ‘Medicine’ and ‘Want Me’. Vocally seemingly lackadaisical, the lyrics are astonishingly capable of sticking in your head, the middle eight especially. With its nursery rhyme cadence, ‘kinda nauseating / that I’ve been online dating’ will be stuck on a mental loop.
With the cascading synths that punctuate the verses and generally relaxed tone, you really are pulled into a trance-like state. As the outro fades in with heavily modulated vocals and muffled beats, this feeling is only enhanced, seemingly lulling the listener to sleep as the EP ends.
As an entire body of work, Medicine is an astonishingly cohesive first effort. It flows beautifully, both thematically and sonically, showing a level of consideration and thought more artists would do well to apply.
You can stream Medicine on all good streaming services, or buy it physically here, along with some pretty cool merch. The ‘Me Me Me’ shirts especially are great, and from my experience, surprisingly comfy for just a long sleeve tee.
My reviews of the other tracks on the the EP can be found here: