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When advertising the music video for her new single, “Body Better,” Maisie Peters promised on an Instagram post: “im politely and properly warning u now it is my best ever.” Following the success of her debut album “You Signed Up For This,”this claim was certainly a lot to live up to. What resulted is a 2000s-inspired music video of a graveyard picnic festooned with pastel colors. While “Body Better”’s music video is not quite subversive, it is a worthy and enjoyable accompaniment to an upbeat tune that belies its emotional lyrics.
Tonally, “Body Better” is a departure from Peters’s first album, which featured softer pop sounds, and shared more similarities to the singles that she released in 2022. “Body Better,” with its catchy upbeat tune, finds its lineage in the pop-punk feel of “Not Another Rockstar” and the song’s teenage angst is mirrored in “Blonde.”
Admittedly, “Body Better” lacks the lyricism present in some of Peters’s finest work, like the double entendres in “Psycho” or the playful storytelling in “I’m Trying (Not Friends).” The strong beat accompanying the song gives it the feeling of a pop punk tune, a symptom of the current resurgence in 2000s pop punk music reminiscent of Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u” or Avril Lavigne’s “Love Sux.” Yet the single is undeniably catchy, and the buoyant rhythm presents a jarring juxtaposition to the vulnerability concealed beneath the defiant lyrics that Peters has penned.
Though the song would not sound out of place on Spotify’s “Happy Hits!” playlist, the lyrics of “Body Better” are achingly honest. Peters sings about watching her ex get together with another girl and the insecurities that this unfurls , asking, “Now I’m watching you moving on in the beat of drum / If I never gave you any reason to run / Then I can’t help thinking that she’s got a better body / Has she got a body better than mine?” These are perhaps not the most earth-shattering lyrics, but Peters is unguarded about her own self-doubt, creating a surprisingly sweet and tender song that echoes the honest vulnerability which made her first album so compelling.
For anyone hoping for a creepy graveyard setting, prepare to be disappointed: The music video, directed by Mia Barnes, crackles with Y2K energy and a candy pastel theme. The closest Peters comes to blood is smearing red colored cake on her white dress.
Underneath the soothing color scheme, however, there is an undercurrent of unhinged behavior. Amidst this pastel paradise, the video features Peters having a picnic with an ensemble of other girls, who, as the chorus builds, partake gleefully in the destruction of crochet dolls, stabbing and tearing them apart.
“Loving you was easy / That’s why it hurts now / The worst way to love somebody’s to watch them love somebody else and it work out,” Peters sings as they robotically stab crochet dolls while staring emotionlessly into the camera. In another scene, Peters stares directly again into the camera and sings through clenched teeth, “You took what you took, and left what you left / and I don’t know how I still can’t make it make any sense.” Her desperation to find closure following heartbreak is palpable through the screen and painfully relatable to anyone who has shared her experience.
Director Mia Barnes provides the music video with a strong sense of its aesthetic direction. The entire video has a shimmery, ethereal filter around it, bringing to mind “Clueless” and “Legally Blonde” — in other words, evoking exactly the mood that it set out to achieve. In a particularly powerful scene that closes out the music video, Peters, dressed in white, looks at a still, doll-like version of herself standing in the cemetery (think the twins from “The Shining”), and in reaching out to embrace her, simultaneously consoles and accepts herself despite the insecurities she feels.
The visuals certainly parallel the song’s message. Much like how Peters has disguised her heartwrenching lyrics with a cheery pop tune, the cottagecore aesthetic lightens and romanticizes the otherwise eerie graveyard.
Ultimately, “Body Better” is the perfect anti-Valentine’s Day song for anyone who felt particularly single last Tuesday, and a strong opening to Peters’s sophomore album, “The Good Witch,” which is set to be released on June 16.