Betty Who recaptures the distinctively joyous vibe of early singles like “Somebody Loves You.”

On her first full-length as an independent artist, Betty Who recaptures the distinctively joyous vibe of early singles like “Somebody Loves You.” While her two major-label albums were far from bad, making her music more straightforward diluted what made it special. Fortunately, Betty lives up to its name as it serves up the most concentrated and most genuine dose of her irresistible pop yet. It’s probably not a coincidence that the album’s first single, “Ignore Me,” reflects the joy of being liberated from a bad relationship, or that Betty begins with “Old Me,” a song that could just as easily be about leaving a controlling record label as a domineering partner, and sounds like spring returning after a long winter. Who‘s obvious and contagious happiness at being able to express herself on her own terms unites Betty‘s songs, which span an impressive array of sounds and moods. While she attempted something similar by working with many producers and songwriters on 2017’s somewhat scattered The Valley, here she collaborates with just her longtime creative partner Peter Thomas and Pretty Sister. Together, they deliver the bouncy, ’80s-tinged sound for which Betty Who first became known on “Just Thought You Should Know,” but also the sultry ’90s R&B homages of “Taste” and “All This Woman” and the flirty tropical pop of “Language.” The trio outdoes itself on “The One,” a note-perfect homage to the bombastic production of early-2000s pop that, with its chorus of “I cried a river for you,” sounds like it’s a response to the Justin Timberlakes of the world. Who‘s mix of ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s sounds could be too algorithmically good to be true, but her buoyant personality and the catchy, conversational songwriting on tracks like “I Remember” always feel authentic. Full of songs that sound like they should be huge hits, Betty is a confident reintroduction to an artist who has to be herself — and sounds her best when she is.



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