Single Review: Scouting For Girls – ‘Love How It Hurts’

“There’s something new added to the mix, and that is the delicate freshness of charm”


Digital Release: July 10, 2011

Physical Release: July 11, 2011

Often the target of criticism for lack of originality, Scouting For Girls seem to be the kind of band that aren’t really a band, as in, it’s quite hard to place their use in today’s pop market. They’re happy enough to churn out toe-tappable pop songs about love, or a lack of it, and build some kind of deep emotional wall around their lyrics; but it’s still a wall, meaning there’s this impenetrable boundary resisting the realism of their songs. There may be opportunities for something that could be quite emotive, and an even bigger opportunity to gain the listener’s empathy, but most of these opportunities are foiled by smaller, often quite trivial things that tend to snowball quite easily. Things such as their more irritating musical foibles, Roy’s slacked-jawed approach to singing and one or two lyrics throughout an entire song which manage to ruin any sentiment or depth previously created. These issues seemed to be solved on ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’, which, thanks to a sample from the far more mature Keane, made arguably their best song to date. Alas, follow-up singles ‘Famous’ and ‘Don’t Want To Leave You’ (originally titled ‘Silly Song’) did not continue this new-found maturity, and so Scouting For Girls scurried back to their guitars to prove, with a re-release of ‘Everybody Wants To Be On TV’, that they do have a place as a band in today’s market.

And lead single from said re-release is this, ‘Love How It Hurts’, a song so unmistakably typical of the band it comes as no surprise that it’s possible to sing the lyrics of their older hits over it. Roy’s vocal introduces the song whilst accompanied by a series of uninventive chords, and the bridge is where déja vu takes over, and up until said point, the song hasn’t done much granted, but it hasn’t done much to annoy either. Then an admittedly anticlimactic chorus doesn’t so much as hit the listeners as softly stroke their ears and ask politely if it can make a little noise, almost like it’s a reminder of Roy’s modesty, but it often appears as little more than embarrassment.

But even in the wake of ‘Love How It Hurts’ being such a mediocre pop song on the surface, there’s something new added to the mix, and that is the delicate freshness of charm. And it’s actually the smaller things on this song that make it better than most Scouting For Girls songs. For instance – “For you I’d have run the ends of the Earth”, is a cliché made potent once more by the use of past tense, creating a suggestion of futility and bittersweetness, and the height of emotion is delivered when the lyric “It’s the most beautiful pain in the world/I love how it hurts” comes around, and the middle eight is undeniably something quite spectacular.

It’s a conundrum. At first listen ‘Love How It Hurts’ seems typically Scouting For Girls, so much so, that it doesn’t merit a second listen, as it’s the same song they’ve been releasing since they débuted, but given the chance, it’s a song that can prove it’s worth with all the goofy intentions to please the band are known for – only this time it worked.

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