There's real venom in "Saints," a song by the L.A. trio Army Navy. You may not catch it on first listen, though--I certainly didn't. This is nothing to brag about, but I'm pretty much helpless before a strong backbeat and some jangly guitars. The pleasure centers of my brain light up, and sometimes it takes the language cortex a while to catch on.
If you don't happen to speak English, "Saints" is one of the most perfect power pop songs ever recorded. The harmonies, the cheery riffs, the clean sound of the snare: it all seems to come from some lost corner of rock music where Teenage Fanclub has been the governing body all this time. "Saints" is such a sugar rush, in fact, that it's startling to realize what it's about: a guy who's grown bored with his girlfriend and is cutting her loose in the most tactless way possible.
"Believe me when I call and I say, the next girl that I love won't be a saint," sings frontman Justin Kennedy. "Now go away." Is it a rule that power pop songs have to be emotionally generous, or that they need always take teenage infatuation as their subject? Of course not. Army Navy deserves credit, actually, for running that ball so far in the opposite direction. Still, what got "Saints" into my Top 25 Most played list wasn't the lyrics, which say, "I don't mind if I never see your face again." Rather it was the music, which says, "I'm so excited about being in love with you."
On iTunes: Army Navy / "Saints"