So thank goodness for Chloe Howl, who first cropped up on Discopop Directory last December. Her new single, Rumour, has lots of brilliant flourishes (the "bang-bang-clap" in the middle of the second verse, the post-chorus chorus) but none of them obscure the song. Which, coincidentally, is excellent.
Like Plan B minus the nihilism, Chloe narrates the story of four girls in terrible circumstances - "he kept her prisoner growing up, told her Jesus was enough" - before cautioning us not to believe everything we hear about strangers. It's a superb, narrative-driven lyric, which is a rare and precious commodity in the current pop scene. The fact that it comes from a 17-year-old makes it even more impressive, and suggests great things for Ms Howl, who has just "inked" a "deal" with Colombia Records.
Line Of Best Fit ran a cheeky interview with Chloe last week, which is worth clicking over to while you listen to the single. Nice.
PS: If you search for Chloe Howl on YouTube, there's a surprising number of dogs called Chloe being forced to bark by their owners. The human race, there.