Boys Like Girls
"Two Is Better Than One"
What might it take to set apart your standard-issue, heart-on-your-sleeve acoustic ballad from every other pop-punk emo act strumming a similar song?
How about a guest appearance by Taylor Swift.
As a general rule, it never hurts to invite the hottest singer on planet Earth to perform with you. And the rule holds true here, as Swift's instantly recognizable voice makes Boys Like Girls' sweetly romantic duet that much more sweet. Which probably helps explains why it's the Boston band's highest charting single in its two-album career.
"She's such a nice girl," Boys Like Girls guitarist Paul DiGiovanni told OK! magazine as he explained Swift's involvement with the song. "We had known her for a long time, and we'd been friends with her. Our drummer, John, played with her on [her album] Fearless, and then she became the biggest star in the universe. It was kind of shoot-for-the-stars to ask her to sing on the record, and we were so delighted that we were fortunate enough to have her on the record."
The band's frontman, Martin Johnson, added, "Taylor Swift is the perfect human being. She's great. She's such a nice, wholehearted, sweet girl, and she's the biggest superstar in the world."
Thankfully, with one mildly eyebrow-raising exception (that we'll get to in a minute )"Two Is Better Than One" inhabits solidly Swiftian territory in its tender take on romance.
A couple that has called it quits is reconsidering the possibility that they can't live without each other after all. It starts with the guy's wistful recollection: "I remember what you wore on the first day/You came into my life and I thought, Hey/You know this could be something."
And so it was ("Everything you do and words you say/You know that it all takes my breath away") until things came undone ("And now I'm left with nothing").
We never learn who left whom. But it's the lovelorn guy who realizes the magnitude of the mistake. "Maybe it's true/That I can't live without you/And maybe two is better than one."
Great. Fine. No problems there. Now for that exception I mentioned: In a Twilight sort of way, Johnson evocatively (perhaps provocatively) recalls the memory of his girl's kisses: "I remember every look upon your face/The way you roll your eyes, the way you taste/You make it hard for breathing."
That's really the only check in a love song that's almost as nice, wholehearted and sweet as the guest singer the band thinks so much of.