‘Dating School’ by Miss Cactus and the Desert shows off the band’s true potential
A big part of writing a great pop song involves threading the needle between crafting lyrics and music that sound familiar but also adding enough originality to avoid being considered a clone of someone else’s style. It seems more often than not many pop artists tend to err on the side of being more derivative than original, if only because it’s a better bet.
On her new single/music video “Dating School,” Miss Cactus & The Desert hit all the pop music requirements — it’s primarily played in major keys, it’s about a light subject that has something to do with relationships, and it’s got a hook that catches your attention long enough to make you want to hear what comes next. Plus they’ve got a great name and a charming, sexy lead singer.
The video’s got everything you’d expect in a pop song, too.
Girl in roller skates? Check
Bubblegum chewing and blowing? Check
Glitter? Lots and lots of glitter? Check
Bright makeup and loud-colored clothing? Check.
Don’t get it confused, though, I’m not a hater of bubblegum pop. It has a place in the musical lexicon just as much as any other genre. For what they’re attempting to do here, Miss Cactus & The Desert are succeeding at it quite well.
The idea behind the song, according to their official release material was to, “empower and encourage women, especially brown women to not be afraid to act based on what they think is right, and not what their female elders (most likely biased with problematic opinions) tell them they should act like” and “targets Miss Cactus’ experience growing up with sexist traditions as a woman of color and seeing these matters play a role when it comes to the dating world.”
In that regard it seems to come from an authentic place. Miss Cactus, you can tell by hearing her croon, is sick of the shit that guys have tried to get away with when it comes to dating. That’s always a ripe subject for musical purposes, and she’s making it fun in the process.
Where I would’ve loved to have seen more from her, though, is in the most important part — the chorus. If you’ve got a knockdown , drag-out juicy, unforgettable chorus, you’re able to do whatever you want the rest of the way because you’ve got your hooks in the listener and won’t let go.
The hook here is good, but it’s not quite great. Overall, though, it’s a fun little ditty that doesn’t take itself too seriously and shows off some of Miss Cactus’s potential. It appears that all the pieces are in place, they’ve just got to keep on creating music and sooner or later they’ll hit the bulls-eye because they got really close with “Dating School.” Close enough to want to hear what else they can do.