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The Beaches / Photo credit: Becca Hamel

Blame who? TikTok reinvents the breakup song

Canadian pop-rock band The Beaches are by no means rookies when it comes to sharing their vulnerabilities through music. Over the course of their ten year career, the four-piece— composed of Jordan Miller (lead vocals, bass), Kylie Miller (guitar, backing vocals), Leandra Earl (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals), and Eliza Enman-McDaniel (drums)— have rode a wave of highs and lows both personally and professionally. After a string of EPs, the band eventually released their debut album, Late Show, in 2017, which lead to them winning the 2018 Juno Award for Breakthrough Band of the Year. 

While the band have straddled the line between indie rock and pop for a while now, one thing has remained clear: they’re a group of women who truly put it all out there. Whether it’s tracks like “Grow Up Tomorrow,” “Everything is Boring,” or “Snake Tongue,” there’s always been a sense of self-awareness, bravery, and cheeky lyricism within The Beaches’ work. That’s why when they released their latest single, “Blame Brett” this May, it came as no surprise that they took this route musically. The band has announced that their much-awaited sophomore album, Blame My Ex, will be available on September 15th.

Utilizing their unique blend of humor, vulnerability, and ferocity, it’s a bold warning to potential new partners of lead singer Jordan Miller’s relationship-wrecking tendencies, fueled by the lingering pain of a past breakup. Self-narrated from Miller’s perspective, the track is an earnest, confident, and slightly defamatory post-breakup anthem that name checks her ex-boyfriend, The Glorious Son’s frontman, Brett Emmons. 

The two bands, both prominent forces in modern Canadian rock, toured together in 2018 and Miller and Emmons formed a relationship while on the road. In a TikTok created on The Beaches’ account in 2020, clips show Miller joining The Glorious Sons on stage to sing “Come Down” as a part of their show each night. “By the end of the tour they were in LOVE & started dating” reads the video. Two years later, the pair have called it quits and have taken to their music to express any bitterness and lingering emotions. 

The Glorious Sons’ fourth studio album, Glorious, is set to arrive September 6, just days before The Beaches get to tell their side of the story. With their three singles released so far, “Blame Brett” still appears to be the dominant breakup track, as it continues climbing North American charts and earworms its way into anyone with a smart phone. The track’s popularity is largely in part to its virality on TikTok, where the song has been used in over 1804 videos and “blame it on brett” has been viewed over 20 million times. Reaching No. 1 on Canadian Alt radio for a subsequent two weeks and counting, the success of the single continues to hold strong, and concurrently, has become an anthem for all the singletons out here this summer.

Leaning into the modernity of quick sound bites and attention deficit viewers, the direct call-out lands in the sweet spot that is equally attention grabbing and mindless, in a way that promotes easily learned lyrics and most importantly, instant intrigue. Upon its release, Miller explained that the track is a song “about feeling vulnerable and afraid to open your heart to someone new” and not specifically a breakup diss track. Declaring she’s “done dating rockstars” the song falls into a catchy cadence of looping guitar and listed ways she is going to act from now on. “I’m sorry in advance/ I’m only gonna treat you bad / I’m probably gonna let you down / I’m probably gonna sleep around / So sorry in advance,” Miller warns in a slight reminiscence to gender-rendering tracks like Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy” or Ciara’s “Like a Boy.” Sense a theme here? There’s much to be said about the double standard that can be present in relationships, yet many pop acts have reimagined the narrative to misplace their own hurt with the power that men, especially in music, so often seem to bolster. 

Artists today have taken note from legends like Fleetwood Mac and Carly Simon, both of which had 1970s hits find a viral reemergence in this past year due to TikTok. Proving that musical partnerships can bring forth a bewitching muse, they also have the potential to turn ugly far too easily. As TikTokers attest, the platform serves as the perfect soap box to vent your frustrations with levity. 

TikTok leverages anyone from new singer-songwriters posting in their bedroom, to accomplished and well-produced artists to find their voice in the virtual cluster of oscillating trends and sound bites. The traditional breakup song has now found a new potential to continue the perpetual discourse. With the success of The Beaches viral Song of the Summer, this phenomenon proves that while breakup tracks are nothing new, they’re certainly more protrusive. 

The Glorious Sons have yet to comment or release their own slanderous track, but as it continues to gain popularity by the day, “Blame Brett” reigns as The Beaches’ most fierce song to date. Will the album give us more to talk about? 

Blame My Ex arrives September 15th.

About Emma Furrier

Boston-based music writer and reviewer. Passionate about rock and roll, vinyl collecting, and any dog I’ve ever met.

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