Much of the subject matter Frightened Rabbit’s record The Midnight Organ Fight involves breakups, failed love, and self-loathing, like any good album from a group of bitter Scots. (Note the brazen sexual metaphor of the phrase “organ fight.”) “The Twist” is one of the record’s sweetest sour notes, as singer Scott Hutchison braids his usual fermenting outlook with romantic wonder.
The song starts on a stifling dance floor, moisture gathering on the dancers’ arms and upper lips. “Lift your dress enough to show me those shins / Let your hair stick to your forehead,” Hutchison sings, and it sounds like a filthy line lifted out of a David Banner song, then passed through Belle and Sebastian’s tweeification machine. All he’s asking for is a glimpse of lower leg; he doesn’t even mind the mussed-up bangs.
Did you blush then when our hips touched?
I can’t tell, you’re already red
Am I right? You give me the signs
Is that pink mist or just lit dry ice
With this pair of questions, Hutchison backs away from the girl even further, like a flirting schoolboy caught peeking across the room. Meanwhile the “pink mist” is a bit of romantic fancy, even a little My Little Pony. It’s all the more surprising considering Hutchison’s usual malaise — this is a guy who, in the song “Poke,” wonders, “Should we kick its cunt in and watch as it dies from bleeding?”
By the end of the song, he’s finally introduced himself (“I’m David, please”), though he doesn’t mind if she gets the name wrong. As the dancing builds, the song twirls away with the refrain, a plea hanging in the air: “I need human heat.”