Happy Birthday: Sun-Baked Pop-Rock

Girls Fm

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As a piece of pop, Happy Birthday's "Girls FM" isn't impeccably groomed, but it's all the better for it. A. Banks hide caption

itoggle caption A. Banks
Happy Birthday

As a piece of pop, Happy Birthday's "Girls FM" isn't impeccably groomed, but it's all the better for it.

A. Banks

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Girls FM"
  • Artist: Happy Birthday
  • CD: Happy Birthday
  • Genre: Pop-Rock

Cryptic messages and abstract statements are littered throughout the music of Happy Birthday, but it hasn't made the band's sun-baked pop-rock any less infectious. On its self-titled debut, Happy Birthday flirts with several flavors of love, and "Girls FM" is where taste gets confusing.

Singer-songwriter Kyle Thomas is on the verge of shrieking as he outlines a dying relationship in chalk. Repetition and a lack of understanding are among the grievances he voices, but the song discovers solace and pop gold in its ambiguous hook: "Everybody's on the same frequency / Girls FM, Girls FM / And everybody's lookin' like a girl to me / Girls FM, Girls FM."

The perception of androgyny could be the result of a lovesick fantasy, or a change of sexuality altogether. There's no answer in these three minutes, but Happy Birthday doesn't seem stressed about it. Relaxed, bright guitars play against the hook as background vocals provide the perfect counterpoint to Thomas' voice. The drums hit hard, accenting the music's sour attitude, while radio frequencies squelch defiantly through the mix. As a piece of pop, it isn't impeccably groomed, but "Girls FM" is all the better for it.

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