In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.
Scottish band Travis has a new record, Where You Stand, out now, and while I like it quite a bit, it doesn’t ring the same bells for me as older Travis records. Where You Stand is lovely, but it doesn’t really rock the way Good Feeling or The Man Who do, and probably for good reason. The band’s getting older, and maybe songs about lovers’ laments and underage girls just doesn’t appeal the way it used to.
The latter topic did make for one of my favorite Travis songs, though. The tongue-in-cheek “U16 Girls” pops up on Good Feeling and was written by the band’s frontman, Fran Healy, as a warning to dudes to check IDs before getting involved with young-looking girls. The age of consent in Scotland is 16, hence the title.
While the topic might seem a little silly, the song itself is anything but. It’s arena rock in its most classic and catchy form, complete with nagging “na, na” chorus and lyrics full of sage advice. (“So make sure that she’s old enough / Before you blow your mind.”) Healy even advises letting young girls “down in style,” which is good form. Dan Savage calls it “the campfire rule”: Always leave the dumped person better off than you found them, especially if they’re young. Of course, letting a 16-year-old down easy hopefully isn’t something any adult A.V. Club reader should ever have to deal with, but it’s good to have this rule and this song filed away somewhere all the same.