PLAYING DETROIT: The True Blue Tackle Post-Breakup Anxiety on “What Do You Think of Me?”

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The True Blue photo by Nate Sturley

Metro Detroit indie-pop/R&B group The True Blue has a knack for creating sultry songs that hit close to home. The band – comprised of Christian Koo (vocals, keyboards), Ben Wilkins (guitar), Koda Hult (bass), and Jake Burkey (drums) – has been playing together for around six years, but spent the past two years honing the genre-blending, dreamy sound that defines The True Blue.

Their latest single, “What Do You Think of Me?” unfolds like a poetic stream of consciousness, seamlessly combining Koo’s spoken-word delivery and silky vocals. Wilkins’ minimalist guitar riffs act as an anchor throughout the song, whether acting as Koo’s sole accompaniment or buried beneath a layer of distant synths, whirring bass, and boomy percussion. The shape of the song mirrors the agonizing process of ruminating on an ex – overthinking, frustration, and letting go.

Koo, who is known for his honest lyricism, says writing this song allowed him to work through some post-breakup anxiety of his own. “In my heart of hearts I know we’re cool, but [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][the song is] just me putting every insecurity I had about the situation out there and sort of baring it all,” says Koo. “Once you make that fear or worry into something that’s tangible, then you’re able to put it down.”

The fears Koo voices in “What Do You Think of Me?” are all too relatable: “What do you think of me, like if I post online? / ‘Cause if I post a photo it’s right there on your timeline / What’s the initial thought? / Is it good or bad? / Or am I just overthinking everything I thought we had?” For those emotionally mature enough not to block their exes (props to Koo), the immediate self-awareness in an era when so much of our lives is thrown out to the public can be crippling. You can literally see an ant-sized photo of any person who views your “story” and, chances are, if you’re heartbroken, you’re only looking for one.

Koo’s vulnerable and open lyricism is part of what makes The True Blue’s music so magnetic. “The True Blue has always been about staying true to your gut,” says the frontman. “When people tell me that our music has helped them through a rough time, it’s just something that’s really special in a really primal way – it’s like, ‘my soul connects with this.’”

Although Koo says the band is constantly evolving and changing their sound, we can be sure of one constant – relatable depictions of love, loss, and just being human.

Detroit locals can see The True Blue perform at The Pike Room on April 5th.

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