Single Review

Barbara – Master Narrative: Single Review

Just days after enjoying a superlative show from our friends and great favourites Barbara at Manchester’s O2 Ritz, we have a listen to the band’s latest single, Master Narrative. They just get better and better!

If the third week in October, 2023 is anything to go by, there’s something very special brewing in that magical land that we’re all starting to know as The Barbaraverse. Just a couple of days ago, we were thrilled by Barbara’s performance as they won over a hoard of new Barbarettes with their show at Manchester’s O2 Ritz, and today, we’ve picked up on the band’s latest single, Master Narrative. It’s an absolute corker – easily up there with the best of the band’s work – and that’s an intimidatingly high standard to keep hitting, as we all know.

It’s a song in which many of the band’s major influences – deliberate or unintentional, real or imagined – coalesce in one glorious song. Listen to Master Narrative and you’ll hear the vocal inflections of Russell Mael and Freddie Mercury, the production mastery of Trevor Horn and the lyrical jiggery-pokery of Neil Hannon or 10cc. Master Narrative is a song that you’ll want to hear over and over again.

Lyrically, Master Narrative showcases the songwriting talents of the brothers Tydeman to very best effect. In the best traditions of the satire so loved by the brothers, the lyrics manage to be swiping and enigmatic at the same time. The song is a poke, a joke – and an ode – aimed at an unspecified public figure (the chaps are keen to point out that they no-one particular in mind, and we’ll take them at their word on that one…). Let’s just say that song’s about a ‘generic politician’ who’s a compulsive liar and whose principles are as shallow as his false smile. Select your own victim…

And there really are some great lyrical passages for the listener to muse over – lines like: “We hate him like nobody else does; we love him – all he needs is a Master Narrative” and “I tell you what I think – he’s really not worth much more than the price of a ticket to the circus… But, I find, no-one likes a ticket to the circus like I do,” show an insight to the working of the political mind, as well as the willingness of the public to be repeatedly duped, that is as cynical as it is observational.

And, musically, the band are on top form. John’s vocal is one of his best yet, Henry’s backing vocals and signature keyboard sounds are right on the nail and Dean Llewellyn’s guitar parts seem to get more and more impressive and assured with each release. And I LOVE the “Pardon me, boy – is that the Chattanooga choo-choo?” coda.

Master Narrative will be available for download and on all major streaming platforms from 8th November, but you can hear it – and watch the absorbing lyric video that accompanies it by signing up to Barbara’s mailing list [here]. And, if you do that, you’ll also be kept up to date with happenings all around the Barbaraverse. That’ll ensure that, if you missed Barbara when they visited your town last time they were out and about, then it won’t happen again. You know it makes sense…

Barbara: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

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