NPR logo Upbeat Vocals, With Teeth: Bad Bad Hats Premiere 'Fight Song'

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Upbeat Vocals, With Teeth: Bad Bad Hats Premiere 'Fight Song'

Bad Bad Hats. Avalon Moon/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Avalon Moon/Courtesy of the artist

Bad Bad Hats.

Avalon Moon/Courtesy of the artist

Your first impulse on hearing "Fight Song," the latest single from Minneapolis trio Bad Bad Hats, might be to lean in. Lead singer Kerry Alexander's bright, lively lines swim over catchy acoustic guitar and velvety keyboard. Impeccable production by Brett Bullion (Bon Iver, Poliça) is programmed to fire all neural pathways associated with carefree indie rock fun. But beware: These lyrics will bite.

Bad Bad Hats. Avalon Moon/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Avalon Moon/Courtesy of the artist

Bad Bad Hats.

Avalon Moon/Courtesy of the artist

Hear The Song

01Fight Song

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/417717735/417722711" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • from Psychic Reader
  • by Bad Bad Hats

Bad Bad Hats, comprised of Alexander on guitar, Chris Hoge on drums and Noah Boswell on bass, flirt with crunchier sounds elsewhere on their debut LP, Psychic Reader, but "Fight Song" is the album's truest pastiche. Pop verses give way suddenly to a choppy, plugged-in bridge and chorus, which Alexander sings both sweetly and with fists up. There's fierce resolve behind her directive-to-self that "I won't run and hide / no I will stay and FIGHT!" (Both the band's lyric sheet and Alexander's delivery reflect that caps lock/exclamation point combination, with the vocals bolstered by a chorus of "Fight!" chanted in the background.)

This is a battle cry against a future foe, sung to a current flame — a pep talk that starts politely but never completely covers its teeth. If "killing with kindness" had a theme song, it might sound quite a bit like this.

Psychic Reader comes out July 17th on Afternoon Records.