My Distraction is one of those songs which seems timeless. Not so much in its sonic traits, on that score, it is very much the sound of the here-and-now, but in its subject and sentiment. It is the sort of thing that people have been trying to articulate through song since, well, since song began.
It’s pop, for sure, but it is more than pop too. It is anthemic, epic even, and although it is built on simple sonic lines, a chiming piano and a shimmering wash of synth and string haze all anchored by spacious and solid beats, it is Betty‘s vocals and the inherent drama and dynamic which lift it into a more rarified territory.
It is perhaps this clever use of space behind the vocals which creates even more room to them to work their magic. Rather than contrasting and colliding with a host of other instruments, it is this which allows the power of the vocals to be truly appreciated. It is this room to breathe and grow that allows the vocals to create atmosphere and anticipation, one note fading out as the next comes crashing in but also allowing the subtleties and sentiment to rise to the surface.
And the song is best experienced through its accompanying video. Part performance video and part narrative, it explores people’s inter-linked relationships and the importance of being there for each other when it really matters. And it does this through some very of-the-moment visuals, the masks particularly underlining the modernity of the story.
As I said, this is pop. But it’s bigger than that, possessing the breadth and bravado of musical theatre or even classical grandeur and for all that still talking to the listener eye-to-eye through the shared experience of the human condition.
It is pop writ large. Pop with a rock attitude. It’s grand, it’s graceful, it’s poignant, it is powerful. It is pop…and then some.