Review: "Bad Friends With Benefits" - Imogen Valentine
On her debut single, Imogen Valentine begins with a relatively empty space. Lone synth plucks slowly build against her reverb-soaked vocals as she reams the other party in a toxic situationship. The sound flips from atmospheric melancholy to dancefloor fervor as the chorus fires away. "Bad Friends With Benefits" strips the pop structure to its bare essentials, allowing the simmering verses and striking chorus to contrast each other unadorned with overwrought elements. Each production flourish serves only to highlight the emotional core of the single, rather than obscure or mediate it. Where the chorus positions club-ready percussion at the very front, the first verse keeps time solely through subtle snaps. It sounds like walking down an empty corridor only to enter a raging party. A messy, undefined relationship can seem fun in the moment, but the emotional whiplash of feeling used afterwards is never worth it.
Finally deciding to call it quits on an unhealthy friends with benefits situation, Valentine is ready to air every last grievance. "Well isn't that fantastic," she bites sarcastically to the realization that this other person hadn't cared about her to begin with. Being in the center of a toxic situationship can blind you to even the most direct advice. "Should've listened to my friends," she laments, "every one of them said this would be a train wreck." But ultimately, Valentine finds clarity in cutting this person off entirely. "You can keep racing all the way to the bottom; I'm just gonna disappear." Finding something to salvage in a toxic situation is pointless when you know your worth. "I know that you're pissed, but I'm burning your bridge," she sings. It's distinctly not about slashing tires or keying cars, but it has the same sense of vindication.
"Bad Friends With Benefits" is the very first single for the up-and-coming indie popster Imogen Valentine. Upon release, she described the track as the perfect anthem for "unhinged girl summer." The track was produced by co-writer Paul Visser and released independently. She posts updates and teases future music on her instagram, linked below. While she has not officially announced any future music releases, several posts indicate that "Bad Friends With Benefits" is only the start of an ambitious project. Valentine's pure-pop banger is a sound entirely her own, but will likely appeal to fans of Lana Del Rey, Olivia Rodrigo, and Dua Lipa.
Written By Andy M.
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