‘I’m just chewing gum/until the flavour’s gone’ and, when three of the five songs are versions of the same track, the flavour is gone by the time one reaches the end of Modern Love. The three tracks in question are versions of Nesbitt’s latest single Chewing Gum: the main mix, a demo version, and a remix. The decision to release Modern Love as an EP would appear to rest in the EP’s title itself which ostensibly seeks to label Chewing Gum’s lyrical content, an observation cum glorification of hook-up culture and the casual relationships of young adults, as the new normal.
Nesbitt has said that Chewing Gum is an “empowering track” about the “transient types of relationships people have when they’re trying to figure out what they want and they’re not ready to fully commit.” This is all well and good, but lyrically the song is merely observation and the electro-pop beats, along with affected-husky vocals, are left to provide the affirmation that Nesbitt seeks to impart. It is telling that the stand-out song on Modern Love is the Nightwatch demo version of Chewing Gum (Nightwatch being Nesbitt’s home recording studio). This version is driven by acoustic guitar, and Nesbitt doesn’t hide her voice behind a throaty affectation, the overall effect of which is to create a more ambiguous message of the lyrics – and it is really this ambiguity that creates interest for the listener – as well as showing off Nesbitt’s strength as a singer-songwriter.
Nesbitt’s desire to tell the story of casual, low commitment relationships may be commendable but she fails to deliver in a satisfying manner and, for those that question whether such subject matter can ever be dealt with satisfactorily in song, we refer you to 2003’s Hey Ya! by Andre 3000.
Modern Love feels like a mislabeled single, not an EP, and because of this it is for the Nesbitt faithful only.