I Hear the Call: ace piece on the Backstreets’ “The Call” which manages to make the song (not one of my favourites) sound fascinating and underestimate it both at once. Darnelle’s point – that the delusional narrator of “The Call” is focussed on the, uh, call which tried to disguise his infidelity, and not the infidelity itself – is worth making but! I think he underestimates the psychological perspicacity of Max Martin orwhoever on this lyrical front.

As in: yes, the reason relationships end tends to be a greater malaise which leads to a tipping point (infidelity, here) but surprisingly often this tipping point itself needs a moment, a last straw, a final face-saving excuse, and “you lied to me” is a reliable standby. The fact of the infidelity being too awful to confront all at once (which is why he (and she) have been confronting it nonstop in the ‘tween-verse two years), the actual break needs to be expedited by something tiny and confrontable, in other words the fatal call. There’s more to this pop stuff than meets the eye, you know.