We liked Betty Who‘s debut album. It was way more accomplished than it had any right to be, its polished synth-pop and effortless hooks being quite a highlight in what was otherwise quite a dull year for pop.
That album was unfairly underrated, so it’s pretty obvious what sort of formula she’s adopted for her new one, The Valley. There’s definitely an element of aiming for more chart dominance, with singalong choruses that feel like they could belong to any major power-player in the genre.
But the difference between Betty Who being just a writer of hits and a proper pop star is indeed her own voice and charisma. While she hasn’t articulated quite what that voice is just yet, there’s certainly a thought that these songs would be massive if they were given to people like Katy Perry et al. That’s especially true for the robust You Can Cry Tomorrow, a hit single if ever we heard one.
The problem, as always, lies in the inconsistency of it all. Solid pop jams are tempered with very average moments like Mama Say, and there’s not quite enough to ensure that she’s going to be an international star. Still, she has more here than most hot-tips – Zara Larsson, we’re looking at you – and she nails her performance on songs such as Human Touch.
Of course, one dodgy feature aside (Warren G, wtf?) it’s all extremely shiny, catchy, and a collection that Betty Who should be proud of. Whether it’ll allow her to shove her name into public consciousness is another matter altogether, but she certainly has the ability to make her name sound like a statement not a question.