Single Review: Better as Friends // Eighty Ninety

Photo by Eric T. White

‘Better as Friends’ is the new single released on 16th October by Brooklyn-based due Eighty Ninety. Brothers Abner (vocals, production) and Harper James (guitar, production) make up the alt-pop project, who have jointly released a string of dynamic and catchy songs over the last four years. This recent release pulls together their most recognisable characteristics to produce a dreamy mix of contemporary pop and hazy chillwave production. 

Retro 80s beats mixed with future sounds similar to that of Owl City’s ‘Fireflies’ can be heard in this track. Soft whispy vocals are used to share personal lyrics that connect with universal themes and feelings, exploring the pull to stay connected with someone you once loved despite how painful it can be. “It’s about the desire to live in the past rather than face the end, and how loving someone can mean wanting the best for them even if that no longer includes you,” Abner and Harper explain. The track is propelled by a driving pulse that develops into head-bobbing melodies and the band’s distinctive snappy guitar work.

Eighty Ninety first broke out with their hit 2016 single, ‘Three Thirty’, which climbed to number two on Spotify’s Global Viral Charts and was closely followed their debut EP Elizabeth. Since then, the duo’s music has garnered over 26 million streams, featured on numerous Spotify playlists and was even hand-picked by Taylor Swift for her official Spotify playlist “Songs Taylor Loves”.

‘Better as Friends’ is the second single from their forthcoming sophomore EP that was created in collaboration with Grammy-nominated producer Gian Stone (Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Dua Lipa).

Words by Aisha Fatunmbi-Randall

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