Label: Warner Music UK
Release Date: 26th February 2021
“With this tune, Peters has declared that she won’t shy away from her pop sensibilities when it feels right. If her empire is going to take on the pop world, ‘Movie’ was the right time, and it is extremely well-executed.”
Maisie Peters, the self-proclaimed queen of emo-girl pop is back with ‘John Hughes Movie’, a song believed to be the lead single from Peters’ highly anticipated debut album.
It’s slick, it’s well-crafted, and oh boy is it an earworm.
Written with Miranda Cooper and Henrik Michelson, who both have writing and production credits in the discographies of pop powerhouses from Kylie Minogue and Little Mix, the track has infectious energy mirrored by the awakening of spring we’re currently experiencing. It’s almost as if Peters’ emerging emo-girl pop empire is controlling the atmosphere to provide the perfect weather to fight against the fuckboys with a united front, all guns blazing.
Peters started her career by releasing acoustic-driven ditties, citing confessional writers like Taylor Swift and Lorde as influences. ‘John Hughes Movie’ symbolises a self-assured leap out from behind a guitar or piano, into the full light of pop stardom. Previous songs like ‘Sad Girl Summer’ and her collab with JP Saxe ‘Maybe Don’t’ hint at this direction, but ‘Movie’ confirms it, built fully with synths and with no acoustic instruments in sight or sound. It even has a pop-breakdown after each chorus. With this tune, Peters has declared that she won’t shy away from her pop sensibilities when it feels right. If her empire is going to take on the pop world, ‘Movie’ was the right time, and it is extremely well-executed.
The lyrics are where you can find the most essence of the Maisie Peters we’d previously got to know. Lyrics such as “I should be the one you’re dancing with” and “You look right through me / Every time you walk by” feel like they’re previous Maisie Peters lyrics remolded. However, this time they don’t carry the same sadness and the same pining.
When I first heard the song, to me it felt like Peters was speaking to every character in her previous songs, as if she was speaking to all of the hopeless romantics who really needed shaking and being told that he’s just not worth it. The girls in ‘Sad Girl Summer’ who were trying to survive heartbreak, the girl in ‘In My Head’ who still saw the object of her affection as hers for the taking, and the girl in ‘Daydream’ who knew the boy with the nose ring didn’t want her. This new song is a statement that if their romantic interest doesn’t actually want them, he’s not the one and he should be forgotten. “This ain’t no John Hughes movie” Peters tells us; ie: he’s an arse, don’t romanticize it, and get out now.
What’s interesting is that Peters wrote the song in 2017 and it’s just been sitting there, waiting to pounce to counter our expectations of what we think a Maisie Peters debut album would sound like. It was the ideal choice for the lead single of a debut album that follows quite a large body of released work, as it’s a nod to the old EPs, without falling into their shadows.
Calling it ‘John Hughes Movie’ is almost a touch of humour as it paints the picture of a song that sees life through rose-tinted glasses, misleading the listener to think it’s a song they’ve heard from Peters before. In reality, it’s more like the matter-of-fact pep talk you get from a complete stranger if you’re crying over a boy in a club toilet.
If this is the war cry Maisie Peters has chosen to sing as she runs full speed into the tumultuous world of mainstream pop, as well as a hint at what we should expect from the mysterious, unnamed Maisie Peters debut, then not only should we be excited, but we should also be fighting by her side.
Words: Sarah Jewers
1st March 2021