A small-town murder mystery
New York City's The Modes sound almost like a blend between The Strokes and 90's pop rockers Barenaked Ladies (something, maybe, about the voice of the lead singer). There's a fun and light garage-rock revival quality to their song "Miss Lizzie," as well as a decidedly British flavor to the whole thing...maybe even a touch of Pink Floyd. The song's rough lo-fi quality serves it well enough, sounding like it would be a good fit for a daytime summer party at a craft brewery somewhere. The subject of the song is a bit enigmatic. The first verse suggests Miss Lizzie is some sort of prostitute, wild child, or otherwise girl of questionable character being gossiped about by the local moms. But the next verses start to paint a more complicated picture. Miss Lizzie appears to have been murdered, possibly by a jealous husband or a mad admirer. And it's even harder to say what the relationship is between the singer and the song; possibly a student and teacher, or simply a neighborhood acquaintance? "Miss Lizzie" definitely encourages a few different narrative readings, and I invite you to try one on for size. You might come up with something I didn't.
Not from Kansas City.
What's she doing all day?
Is it what the moms say?
Every boy has his doubts,
Like who will let the man out,
He's got her in his cross-hairs
He's waiting by the back stairs.
What is it that the men can not outgrow?
How else was a young boy to know?
Lessons in life that the schoolbooks don't show
Went down to the street to (??) Avenue
To a place that's long overdue
Where something lost always stays with you.
Looking back on that day
While kneeing down by a grave
It says she had a hard life
And how it changed on that night.
I would add "Miss Lizzie" to a playlist called Garage Pop