Rarely do mothers and daughters see eye to eye on the personal qualities that make for an appealing boyfriend. Moms look for someone clean-cut and dependable who won’t put their kid in any trouble. Daughters might have an appetite for something a little wilder than that. Just as parents stay up late worrying about their children’s choices, daughters do their best to balance family obligations with their hearts’ desires. It’s a messy negotiation that plays out in living rooms across America, and since there’s really no way to avoid it, our best recourse might be to have some fun with it. Country-pop singer-songwriter Daisy Briggs sends the whole business up with the delightful, delirious, frequently hilarious “I Don’t Hate U (My Mom Thinks You’re Trash),” a song that finds the main character doing her best to follow her mother’s advice — all while making herself available for a boy who spells danger.
Is she singing from personal experience? It’s hard to think she isn’t. Briggs has the sort of voice that’s at once instantly appealing and terrifically communicative. When she tells her stories, she brings her lively young protagonists to life in full color and nuance and with their more troublesome idiosyncrasies intact. She inhabits her characters with such ease that it might take you a moment to realize what a terrific singer she is or how good she’s gotten at minting memorable melodies. “I Don’t Hate U” stands in the long tradition of country songs about boys who are alluring despite — or perhaps because of — the fact that they’re off limits. “Maybe you’re not a good guy,” Briggs purrs, “but I don’t want to admit it.” Her innocence is tempered by a streak of naughtiness and a shiver of anticipation. She may be on the road to heartbreak, but she’s sure going to enjoy the journey.
The thrill of young romance animates David Bradley’s playful video for “I Don’t Hate U,” too. To suit the throwback feel of the song and the domestic theme of the lyrics, he displays the footage through a frame that makes the whole thing look like Kodak slides come to life. The color palette is vintage and dusted with pastel hues, the costumes are sharp and suggestive of a more stylish era, and the boys are, indisputably, trouble. But Daisy Briggs is the undisputed focus of the clip, and she puts her talent for characterization on display by appearing as a rocker, a strumming cowgirl, a spray-paint toting skater, and a prim, bespectacled schoolgirl (complete with a Moleskine). However she’s dressed, she’s doing her best to suppress her excitement. Well, just barely.