Betty Who, "The Valley" (RCA Records)
These might be anxious times but don't worry, Betty Who is back. Betty Who? Exactly. Even her stage name is fun.
A new album of her infectious, fizzy pop music might be just what we need right now.
The Australian singer is all about finding love, overcoming heartache and promoting self-empowerment on "The Valley," her 13-track sophomore effort. Nothing gets Who down. It's like she swallowed the sun. "Hole in my heart but I'm still alive/I'm so low I'm high," she sings.
Who, born Jessica Newham, comes to your rescue when you've been dumped — "So dance with me tonight/Baby you can cry tomorrow" — and is self-affirming, telling herself that "on your worst days you're still beautiful." She's so good-natured that when her lover misses another, her advice is "Pretend You're Missing Me."
The album is bookended by the slightly off-kilter "The Valley" and ends with a moody cover of Donna Lewis' "I Love You Always Forever," the only song Who didn't help write. She even has a funny ode to Britney Spears, "Mama Say," that includes the line "I'm your slave tonight."
Who's earnest songs — despite their electronic roots — have a knack to transcend the dance floor. This is an artist, after all, whose "Somebody Loves You" became a hit after it was used a flash mob marriage proposal at a Home Depot.
Several of the new songs could go viral in the same way, including "Some Kinda Wonderful," ''Beautiful" and "Free to Fly." Then you'll be able to say that's Betty Who. Who? Exactly.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press