Dan Long

Premiere: Little Reader's jaunty and torn "Burn Eternal"

The Nashville pop duo eye their long-waited debut album, The Big Score.

Heartbreak can tear you apart. Its messy, post-idyllic rubbish is strewn throughout every room of your heart. Some compartmentalize their emotions afterward, slicing up the remaining shards into digestible chunks and then sweeping the residue underneath the proverbial threadbare rug. But in that burdensome period, holes in your throbbing organ can emerge. "If you walk away, you'll have a hole inside your heart, just like the one in mine you made," Kate Tucker, of sunny Nashville pop shakers Little Reader, swears on "Burn Eternal," the duo's brand new song (premiering today). The jaunty production is patently deceiving, forcing the listener to perch forward and dig into the storyline with concerned acuteness. "You know the phrase 'It was a messy breakup'? Well that's what hit me when [bandmate] Ross [Flournoy] brought the beginnings of [this song]," Tucker tells Popdust. "I'd been fantasizing about being a secret agent and maybe falling in love in my spare time, very 'La Femme Nikita,' the French version, of course."

"I didn't realize how violent the song might come off, but I think it's even stronger, metaphorically. Most all of us have experienced some kind of gut-wrenching sorrow over lost love -- why else would we have the word 'heartbreak,'" she says. Flournoy adds, detailing the song's lengthy history, "This is a song I had started eight or nine years ago but never finished. When Kate and I started writing together, I dusted it off and we finished it together. I love her singing on this one — especially all her harmonies on the choruses. We were going for an early 80s Pretenders kind of thing."

Much like The Pretenders' 1984 song "Back on the Chain Gang"--featuring an upbeat melody, a sampling of Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang" and gusting guitar (as a memorial to lead guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, who died from a drug overdose)--Little Reader utilizes polarizing emotions and ideas to hammer home heightened reality. "There was a time I'd kill for you, turn all the red to black and blue," Tucker later snarls, with utterly haunting harmonies and thudding, veiny percussion. "Shining like diamonds in the dust till all the iron turns to rust."

The sticky "Burn Eternal" samples Tucker and Flournoy's forthcoming debut album, The Big Score (out May 19). A chance meeting and a blind-date writing session birthed their "accidental love child," as Tucker puts it. Coming together with varied backgrounds--Flournoy's work includes with such bands as The Broken West and Apex Manor, while Tucker has worked extensively with film scoring and soundtracks, in addition to solo material--Little Reader have laboriously cemented their sun-bleached version of pop to great effect.

Tucker is also expected to drop her new solo record, Practical Sadness, later this year.

Listen below:


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