The Jezabels – “Stand and Deliver”
I will always remember “Stand and Deliver” as the moment The Jezabels went from being a good band to a downright phenomenal one. I’ve always loved Hayley Mary’s booming voice, whether it came in the form of Prisoner‘s rock or The Brink‘s 80’s synth-dance vibes, but untapped potential remained…her voice has the depth and range to unleash something otherworldly – something bombastic and unexpected. As the introduction to 2016’s Synthia, that’s precisely what “Stand and Deliver” accomplished.
At seven and a half minutes in length, the song covers a lot of ground. Riding in on glistening electronic keystrokes, it gradually increases in tempo while building towards Hayley Mary’s gorgeous, spoken-word introduction. The more the song unravels, the more her biting sarcasm begins to reveal itself, as Hayley beckons “come and give a bitch a kiss” during a precursor to a choral, almost operatic chant. One of my favorite moments is when all the noise cuts out, and Hayley – sounding alone on the stage – sings “what’s a girl to do, standing in the spotlight?” The answer is clearly to make the most epic song of her career, on a lengthy album opener that reaches almost Queen-levels of ambition. The back portion then ascends into a cloud of percussive ferocity, overshadowing the electric guitar splashes that one can lightly make out in the background. Finally, it all comes crashing back down to earth on a pillow of softly sung verses. The range in both style and intensity on “Stand and Deliver” is a thing of beauty, and it’s the definitive song by one of this decade’s most important female fronted indie-rock acts.