Image Credit: 2020 Cat Burns
In the same way organised people buy greetings cards throughout the year so that they always have a selection on hand for surprise occasions, I am constantly on the lookout for good breakup albums. Music is a key component of any relationship whether you’re soaring in the highs of young love, the lows of heartache or the confusing middle ground of ill-defined dating, music is oftentimes what brings back the most painful memories but what also has the power to nurse our hearts back to health.
So, if you happen across an artist that perfectly describes those feelings of betrayal, anger or grief it just seems practical, if a little pessimistic, to keep them in mind for a time in the future when you or a friend may need them; always be prepared and this week I struck gold.
20-year old singer-songwriter Cat Burns from South London has a discography that ticks off nearly every major dating issue. A graduate of the prestigious BRIT School, Burns was chosen for BBC 1Extra’s Track of the Week at just 16.
With lyrics that hold a brutal honesty similar to that of Lily Allen or Kate Nash but that are set against the more chilled-out pop sound of Mahalia or Mae Muller, Cat Burns creates an empowering message with a beat you can dance to. If you’ve listened to Lizzo’s ‘Boys’ so many times you could now sing it backwards, then Burns is your next listen.
Burns tracks cover modern dating problems ranging from unwanted advances in clubs in ‘Go Away’ to those infamous ‘you up?’ texts in ‘Sober’. She gives a too-often underrepresented female perspective on hook-up culture and casual dating. And generally, works to represent women in heterosexual relationships as capable of having emotions beyond swooning or pining, instead giving us anger and apathy and everything in between.
All these emotions hidden within tracks you can dance to. Like medicine in a spoonful of sugar, Cat Burns will have you dancing whilst also imparting to you the words you need to hear. It's empowering because it’s so relatable.
After her first EP Adolescent contained some of the more classic break-up tracks like ‘Best Mate’, Burns’ second EP Naïve, released in 2018, takes a slightly more cynical standpoint. ‘Pretty Boys’, ‘Cheater’ and ‘Fuckboy’ all feature on this EP describing with great accuracy feelings we’ve all felt and people we’ve all met. ‘Fuckboy’ for example begins with the line ‘I knew this boy from Streatham named Ben’, and trust me when I say even if you’ve never been to Streatham, you’ll definitely know more than a few Bens.
Seamlessly combining dance music, with honest accounts of modern dating, Cat Burns’ music is uplifting but never glib. Embrace the pessimism, download it now and you’ll have empathetic feel-good tunes on hand for when you need them.