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Hey, Baby's post break-up anthem "XX" pulsates with a heady concoction

21 September 2023, 10:00 | Written by Thomas Turner

Hey, Baby's music is all about being fearlessly authentic, bringing their own spin to diverse genres and sounds. Capturing post break-up lust and longing in its intoxicating mix of thrashing punk and electronic pop, latest track "XX" is a staggeringly layered and ultimately nourishing affair.

Music can be at once both art and outlet; an intentional product for external eyes or an unconscious mouthpiece of internal thoughts. 27 year old Baby, under the alias Hey, Baby, creates in and from this greyish middle ground. Describing their first single “Theatre!” as an “ode to queer rage,” finding a dark groove on follow-up cut “PSYCHOPARTY”, and now on their latest release, “XX”, which slinks between drumming punk and sexy electronic pop, they manage to write intimately personal lyrics into deafening anthems fashioned for the community’s eyes.

Growing up in North London around a large Jamaican family, Baby was weaned on a varied diet of musical influence stretching from the crystalline R&B of TLC, to the camp revelry of Kylie Minogue. This distinctively vast sonic palette has now firmly enshrined itself into their discography, as it belts between genres and makes magic in the intersections. It is, however, the impact of one artist in particular which has given Baby their mission statement. Growing up, they found great power in the work of FKA Twigs, heralding her as the poster-child "altsy black girl" and appreciating the beauty and bravery that comes with such a title. Now with an eye on their own craft they confess, “I make music as a way of immortalising the queer, black experience."

Their latest release "XX" is a deliciously heady post break-up anthem. "The inspiration for this track came the week that I broke up with my ex and I needed to redefine my relationship with my sexuality via kissing strangers in the club," they explain. Capturing the nauseating swirl of feelings that go into the messy shenanigans after a break up - lust, nervousness, naïveté, intoxication - they continue, "It is two sides of the same coin. We open with this obnoxious flirty character that wants you to “stop talking and let’s make out,” but then realise that this is a mask to protect the more vulnerable parts of ourselves, “I just wanna pretend I got you feeling me.” “XX” is the cocky drunk version of you that comes out when, deep down, all you want is a hug and a lunch date.”

Collaborating with their “official work husband,” MVMMOTH on the track for six months, “XX” is a staggeringly layered affair. It bursts into action with four strobing beats, and then gleefully pulsates between verse and refrain in a whirlwind of thrashing percussion, distorted guitar lines, and hair-whipping. The chorus repeatedly whirs, “M-m-m-make out,” setting the scene of a night on the dancefloor, aimlessly spinning and catching eyes with strangers, and then acting on the tequila-driven compulsions.

With a sound this audacious, Baby has unsurprisingly crafted a similarly larger-than-life artistic identity. Already having showcased a portion of their overflowing talent on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK in 2022, winning hearts with impressive lip-syncing chops and a playful persona, Baby’s music career feels like a shedding and re-birth - a full liberation in technicolour. Whilst they may have graced stages on tours attached to the franchise's name, they are destined to be performing their own songs to the masses.

Bending the bars of the cage and embracing letting go with reckless abandon, the energy Baby brings to their songs is entirely self-sustaining; it feels as if they throw everything at their music, and are nourished by sinking their teeth into the product.

"XX" is out now. Find Hey, Baby on Instagram.

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