Tracks

The Teddy Boys: "Baby You're The Best"

from Love After Dark (The Tyros Label; 2007)

By David Ritter | 17 June 2008

It’s surprising how little separates a mediocre pop song from one that soundtracks your next eighteen subway rides. “Baby You’re The Best” comes on like an also-ran: it limps in on some bright arpeggios and a Built To Spill b-side verse. The verse eases into a prelude of deftly paired guitars and keys before it opens up in the chorus—opens up the way shit used to in the ’90s. Not in the add-ten-decibels sense, but the hook gets wider, drums more convincing, the new wave-via-Vampire Weekend guitars more pressing. Add horns and back-up “ooo“s and you’re looking at the same unadulterated joy that underruns summer anthems from the British Invasion to late ’70s power pop and contemporary twee.

In the glare of the chorus everything else gets more dramatic. The verses are tense with muted urgency and the pre-chorus clamours for its destination without rushing there. With hooks like this and horns in the budget a lesser ear would drum the chorus into us three or four times before a repeat-to-fade ending. The Teddy Boys only give us the chorus twice, leaving plenty of room for an intro, outro, and solo all flexed with expectation.

What’s it about? Who knows…but with so much right on the sonic side, who cares? It’s a celebration of “a thousand daytime dreams”—some things have gone wrong with the lovers, but there is still possibility. The boy wants to do better by the girl. I can barely parse the lyrics, but I’ll be damned if this song doesn’t want me to grab my girlfriend and tell her, “baby, you’re the best!” I clench my teeth in the wind of the world and hold—for all my cynicism, pop music still makes me believe in love.

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your mix tapes.

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