Some of the most powerful pop songs have a tendency to feel deceptive. An ascending melody can cloak sorrow; the most danceable hooks can act as odes to heartbreak or loss. Behind Charly Bliss frontwoman Eva Grace Hendricks' saccharine singing are moments of real intimacy, though they're not nearly as sweet as she makes them sound.
"Glitter," the lead single from the band's upcoming debut, Guppy, exemplifies this tension. Charly Bliss excels at crafting impossibly memorable pop songs, and it does so here with a capital P. Gone are the days of grunge guitars and noisy soloing: Though the six-string instrument shines right before the song's end, it's paired with a shimmery synth, something previously unheard of from the band. "Glitter" is the kind of pop that forces listeners to confront things in themselves that they might not want to — the catchy and the uncomfortable. In the chorus, Hendricks offers the restless realization, "I'll have my cake and eat it, too / I wish I could be good to you / Am I the best? / Or just the first person to say yes?"
"'Glitter' is a song about dating someone who's too much like you and it making you feel full of self-hatred," Hendricks tells NPR. "I initially meant for this to be an angry breakup song, but when I read the lyrics back, I realized that all of the mean things I had written could just as easily be said about me and the way that I behaved in that relationship. The chorus lyric is a dig at myself; I am prone to speaking in superlative hyperboles like, 'You're my best friend!' or 'You're my favorite person ever!' which can make the people who I'm actually close to feel like I'm being disingenuous."
That kind of embellishment can feel distinctly like a young person's burden: Passion leads to exaggeration, which leads to muddled perception. Here, with Hendricks' pervading honesty, it's both celebrated and critiqued. Covering your problems in "Glitter" might not solve them, but it'll certainly make them more attractive.
Guppy comes out April 21 on Barsuk.