WORDS BY THOMAS FREEMAN
IMAGE BY Daphne Nguyen
Middle Kids, one of the best bands to come out of Australia in the 2010s, are back with a new single called ‘R U 4 Me’, and the tease of a new album. The Sydney-based indie rock trio hit it big back in 2016 with their breakout song ‘Edge of Town’; a song that continually grew with popularity since its release. In 2018, they dropped their debut album Lost Friends, an album that Triple J listeners across the country absolutely loved, winning the infamous J-Award for Australian Album of the Year, snagging an ARIA nomination, and placing in the top 5 on Triple J’s Album Poll. It was followed by the EP ‘New Songs for Old Problems’, which continued everything that listeners loved about Lost Friends into some really great tracks, like Real Thing.
‘R U 4 Me’ is the first song they’ve dropped since the EP, and follow up singles like this are always hard to do with a band wanting to recreate what audiences loved about their previous music whilst also trying to expand on their sound, and thankfully Middle Kids absolutely nailed it with this track, as it feels really different in their discography but also sounds like the band that we all know and love.
In just under 3 minutes, this new track is pure Middle Kids greatness, from start to finish. The melodies are as catchy as you’d expect from the band, with a lead riff that is both simple yet has an uncontrolled sound to it. Hannah’s vocals are also a massive driving force behind the track and are continuing to be one of the best voices in the Australian rock scene. The percussion swirls around the whole track in a frantic way, especially in the instrumental section after the second chorus. The laughing just before this section is one of the highlights from the single, and the guitars and drums just go into a full ‘controlled chaos’ with the band just letting loose.
Lyrically, ‘R U 4 Me’ really stands out with the structure of the verses and choruses, especially with how they all transition and flow together. I especially love the chorus:
“Do not ignore me
Are you for me or against me?
Hold yourself against me
Can anyone hear this?
I feel so far from the people
Who are nearest”
The rhythm is undoubtedly going to get stuck in the listeners head, but it also feels like some of their most personal lyrics. It also sounds really relevant in this current time, with self-reflection about our mental health and the different people in our lives being something prominently on the listeners mind in 2020. The second verse also does a fantastic job with this relatable mentality:
“I just wish that everything would be right
When I don’t even know what’s right
No, I don’t know what that’d be like”
If this new song from Middle Kids really shows us anything, it’s that the band have really been working hard since their last EP, and if this single is a taste of what’s to come, then I honestly can’t wait for what they also have planned for their upcoming LP. It’s different, yet has everything we love; it’s catchy but not overly-repetitive; and it’s fun and frantic, but also deep and relatable. What’s left to say about ‘R U 4 Me’ other than please go listen to this song!