Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Maisie Peters Tears Down The Teen Rom-Com Fantasy With Pop Bop ‘John Hughes Movie’

“This wasn't how it's supposed to go”, Maisie Peters remarks before pouring her heart out in the way one might do to a friend on a night out that has taken a turn for the worst. 

At just 20 years old, Peters has become a master of the melancholy teen track. It comes as no surprise that she first wrote the new single ‘John Hughes Movie’ at a house party when she was just 17. The song has all the naivety, embarrassment and heartbreak that a coming-of-age tune should hope to encapsulate, which is why it has really hit home with many of her younger fans. 


Written with Miranda Cooper and Henrik Michelson (whose credits include work with Little Mix and Kylie Minogue), this innovative single is a bittersweet homage to young girls’ fantasies set by the idealistic romance films of the 1980s. 


‘John Hughes Movie’ tells the simple story of a girl on a night out with her friends who finds out the guy she’s been pining after isn’t actually interested in her. This down-to-earth tune explores the notion of building up a fantasy in your head (with lyrics such as “Think I built it up too tall”), before realising it doesn’t actually exist.


Peters is a natural storyteller; her voice full of honesty and fragility. She reinvents the age-old tale of unrequited love with a high level of self-awareness, casting a cynical eye over the nostalgia that cinema often plays upon when portraying adolescence.


Rather than the slow acoustic guitar or piano that fans have come to expect from Peters, we are instead treated to a fusion of retro-synth sounds and an addictive modern dance beat. These sounds cement this as the kind of song that you bop along to in your bedroom. 


The song starts with crisp, sugary-sweet vocals hovering over a slow, muted synth. Peters’ first verse indulges this teenage fantasy with the lyrics: 


“I was gonna get my coat” / “And baby, you were meant to follow me” / “And I was gonna act surprised” / “Even though I'd know you wanted me”.


A soft beat comes in before being replaced by a fuller texture and more insistent drumbeat on the pre-chorus. 


The chorus itself is irresistibly catchy, featuring a rising and falling cadence. It fits perfectly with the idea of wishful thinking when matched with disappointing reality.  


Peters sings, “I keep waiting for the heartbreak music” / “That’s never gonna come”. As the orchestral music swells, you can almost picture the scene from every teen rom-com where the boy runs after the dejected female protagonist to confess he was in love with her all along. 


This song is more bittersweet than just purely melancholic. The chorus ends with the line, “‘Cause if you don’t want me / “Then you’re not the one”, and in a way, this is empowering. The movies would have you believe the person you like will one day suddenly change their mind. In reality, if someone doesn’t appreciate you, you’re probably just not right for one another. 


After the chorus a modern dance beat is unleashed, and the song breaks loose of its initial romanticism. The second verse chimes in with the relatable line “Sitting on a bathroom floor” / “Trying to get my composure back”.


The bridge contains the emotional climax of the song. Angry and humiliated, the narrator holds nothing back: 


“What am I gonna say?” / “What am I gonna do?” / “All of our stupid friends” / “Know that I'm here for you” / “Guess I misunderstood” / “Thought you liked me too”.


We’ve all been there, Maisie. 


The music video, directed by Louis Bhose, is a perfect match for this song. A Year 13 leavers disco with a strong John Hughes aesthetic, the video features Maise Peters in a bright pink dress: a tribute to the iconic Molly Ringwald in the 1986 classic romantic comedy ‘Pretty in Pink’.


A real earworm with a shiny pop sound and a lot of emotional substance, ‘John Hughes Movie’ is exactly the kind of music the UK charts have been sorely missing.


Entering the charts for the first time at #92 in March 2021, Maisie Peters has been slowly building up her profile over the past few years. You may have already heard some of her music on ‘Love Island’ in 2019, and on the ‘Birds of Prey’ soundtrack. 


The young artist has previously proven herself to be a talented songwriter, with popular singles including ‘Favourite Ex’ and ‘Maybe Don’t’, featuring JP Saxe. Thanks to her incredible hooks and lyrics that show her to be wise beyond her years, the singer-songwriter has gained a lot of fans including Taylor Swift.


2020 was supposed to be a big year for Peters, who was set to support Lauv and Niall Horan on their upcoming tours. While Covid-19 thwarted these plans, she channeled all of her efforts into creating her soon-to-be-announced debut album via Atlantic Records.


If ‘John Hughes Movie’ is anything to go by, an upcoming album from indie-pop’s latest darling promises to be a breath of fresh air.



Hannah McGreevy

Twitter: @HannahIMcGreevy

Instagram: @HannahPalindromic 

Image: ‘John Hughes Movie’ Official Video Maisie Peters - John Hughes Movie (Official Video)


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