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Pop Music

As the trends in music evolve, as does the definition of pop music. Pop started as an abbreviation for popular; since the mid-20th-century, it has become the go-to term to define the music currently holding the most favour with the public. The evolving nature of pop makes it hard to pinpoint the pioneers; some say it all started when performers needed a catchy and memorable song in the Victorian area, while others say that pop began with the original crooners in the 30s.

The introduction of the pop music charts in 1952 allowed a cultural shift to form around music. It was at this point in history that teenagers became a massive target for the media. Before this new social reconstruction, there had been no in-between for children and adults. Just as it is now in the TikTok age, where teenagers can make an unknown artist go viral in minutes, teenagers effectively ran the music industry in the 50s too!

After Elvis Presley reigned supreme in the late 50s and early 60s, the Beatles dominated the charts for eight years until they disbanded in 1970. Throughout the 80s, synthpop took the pop limelight until the Boy Band era was born in the 90s. The selling power of East 17, Take That, Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync gave Bob and Chris Herbert the idea to manufacture the world’s ultimate girl group; with the Spice Girls, they discernibly succeeded. After the Spice Girls topped the charts, more manufactured pop acts, such as Britney and Mariah Carey, started to surface. Manufacturing is still a massive part of the pop industry, but more and more pop artists are becoming brave enough to break the mould (think Billie Eilish, St. Vincent and Lorde).

Even though the pop charts are more diverse than ever, with Ed Sheeran sitting next to the Weeknd and Dua Lipa next to Tom Grennan, there are still common factors in their pop tracks. Today, most songs that fall into the pop category follow the extensively tried and tested pop formula. Generally speaking, pop tracks are 3 – 5 minutes in duration, use just one key, contains melodically lyrical soundbites that include the title, have a repeating chorus and keep to 4/4 time signatures. Repetition is quite literally key.

Unless it is a ballad or a stripped back acoustic number, pop tracks usually unfold to danceable tempos and rhythms to complement the lyrical hooks. Elements from every genre can be pulled into pop, the main ones being rock, RnB, hip hop, country, Latin and dance. Indie pop was a force to be reckoned with at the start of the millennium, but two decades in, it has lost its foothold to hip hop and RnB, which have become pop genres in of themselves.

Tim Nova turns plight into passion in his anthemic indie power-pop single, Far Away

The North West, UK-hailing indie power-pop pioneer, Tim Nova, is fresh from the release of his single, Far Away, which proves that there are few things in life more romantic than long-distance affection. It’s a beautiful testament to the fact that love perseveres despite peripheries; it’s a refreshing change to be confronted with the more positive aspects of the human experience instead of the negative.

Far Away merges Nova’s love for massive guitars and stridently balladlike vocals that make no bones about dialling the evocative potential up to 11. Anyone feeling a little love/person/homesick, couldn’t ask for a better track to seek solace in. Damn, it’s almost enough to make you embark on an international affair to truly appreciate this 80s-rock inspired earworm.

Far Away is due for official release on February 21st. It is now available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Spotlight Feature: Psych Soul Food is Back on the Menu with Denim Dan’s Return to the Airwaves

The NYC psychedelically blessed folk-pop-rock powerhouse, Denim Dan, serenaded us with their seminal spacey album, No Guarantee, ahead of the release of their upcoming album, 3AM.

Each of the singles on the 2020 album, No Guarantee, provides the opportunity to shift the ennui and existentialism out of your worldview. To complement the psychedelic tones, the enlightened lyricism that was penned to hit the evocative spot by uplifting just as much as the transcending instrumental timbres.

After forming in the 90s, Denim Dan’s fusion of 60s pop and 70s rock has remained just as sweet in the 21st century. Instead of modernising their sound that carries reminiscences to The Beatles, Steely Dan, Bowie and Tom Petty, they’ve stayed true to cathartically resonant form.

Along with the release of their upcoming album, the nostalgia-inducing outfit are also set to release their tribute to Bob Dylan to coincide with the opening of the Bob Dylan Museum in Tulsa, OK. They are well worth a spot on your radar.

Denim Dan’s 2020 album, No Guarantee, is available to stream in full via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Picturing You And Me: Kitty Richardson wonders if they will ever be together on ‘Silhouette de Femme’ (feat. Sines)

Featuring ravishing vocals and an artistic movement replenished with delightful colours you will be totally transfixed by, Kitty Richardson shows us into her inner mind as she daydreams about that innocent love she has kept to herself for so long on ‘Silhouette de Femme’ (feat. Sines).

Kitty Richardson is an award-winning indie-pop singer-songwriter and music student from Rutland, UK, who studies music composition at the University of Leeds.

With her concentration on full as her gaze turns into something much more than meets the eye at first, Kitty Richardson is at her unique best on a new single that has you completely enthralled – by such a compelling experience – that has you glued to your screen. Bringing forth paint-filled visuals as she sketches us the picture of where her mind is currently inside, she skillfully lets us into her studio to watch this cinematic wonder unfold.

Silhouette de Femme(feat. Sines) from the fascinating Rutland, UK-based indie-pop artist Kitty Richardson, is a mood-altering single from an artist who keeps you locked into her story like all the greats seem to do. Her mesmerizing style has you quivering at times as you sense her romantic feelings towards someone who doesn’t know she exists yet.

Sometimes life can have you distracted by a love that might never happen, as it stirs your senses alive like a hot flame on your fragile skin.

See this stunning music video on YouTube and see more via the IG music channel.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Don’t You Cry: Dresden darkwave act Ghosts Over Dresden drop first single ‘My Dark Angel’

https://open.spotify.com/album/6qL6MAQDSWL9S61dAcVaTR

With striking energy that might shock many into having nightmares, Ghosts Over Dresden sends us a blood-soaked love story that could stain your teeth with the debut single called ‘My Dark Angel‘.

Ghosts Over Dresden is a darkwave/goth band from Dresden, Germany who let flow with a release that will have you looking deeply into this intriguing effort.

Emerging in an era in which quite literally every music scene in every city in the world was dying at the hands of a deadly virus, Ghosts Over Dresden (G.O.D) rose from the still smoking ashes to bring a new brand of darkwave in a desperate time. Creating songs that brood and shimmer as well as tracks with hooks for days, G.O.D. is calling hungry audiences to the altar for the resurrection of dark pop.” ~ Ghosts Over Dresden

With a moody ambience that tells us the story about a passionate love that is highly intense and packed full of that romance that sends shivers down your spine, Ghosts Over Dresden takes us into a new world that will either excite you or scare you into pieces.

My Dark Angel‘ from the Dresden, Germany-based indie darkwave act Ghosts Over Dresden, is a thrilling effort that might belong in a horror movie. The painted face aura has your thoughts gusting back to Halloween, and this is a track that will take you into the darkest part of a liaison that is packed full of devotion that it might cause either one of you to break in half.

For all the fans of this mysteriously created genre – you have found yourself a new underground hero – who make that soul-shocking experience that will have you peeking around nervously when the lights are out.

Hear this haunting new single on Spotify and see what they get up to on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Until the End of the World gave pop a noir twist in their latest single, Easy Come, Easy Go

For their latest single, Easy Come, Easy Go, the lockdown-born outfit, Until the End of the World, gave pop a noir twist. With the 90s-style pop harmonies that will throw you right back to the days when Say You’ll Be There was dominating the airwaves while simultaneously captivating you with the same haunting mystique as Mazzy Star, Easy Come, Easy Go couldn’t be more beguiling.

Until the End of the World consists of the Nashville-based singer-songwriter Meg Olden and the English ex-pat, Ian Webber; their sound is equally as international as their formation. There are obvious hints of Americana in the deserty guitar tones, with nods to the likes of the English singer-songwriter Richard Hawley in the melodies. It isn’t every day that you stumble across an artist as authentic as this. Until the End of the World definitely isn’t an outfit to underestimate.

Easy Come, Easy Go is due for official release on February 21st; check it out for yourselves via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

West Coast vibes meet Latin urban rhythm in Victor Josue’s latest single, Ad Maiora

https://open.spotify.com/track/3PUkT1Vu60zN9AxjGtCZ2g?si=0eabf2f87bb0423c

The up and coming San Diego born and raised artist Victor Josue’s music spans Latin urban and west coast vibes. His latest single, Ad Maiora, is the perfect introduction to his smooth soul-driven sound that is garnering plenty of international hype for its hazy melodies and evocative punches.

Ad Maiora was the third single released by Josue; his upcoming debut album promises to be a dynamic smorgasbord of multi-genre ingenuity that breaks the monocultural mould. For any urban music fans that appreciate fresh vision and talent, Josue’s sun-soaked contemporary urban sound isn’t to be overlooked.

Ad Maiora is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

I Need Help: Mtt wonders where he would be without this special soul on debut single ‘Myself’

https://open.spotify.com/track/4MwJM9RtlWhk5HyQPxGXiG?si=8cdb1c8c14f843d7&nd=1

As he thinks deeply about the past that haunted him before meeting someone who somehow changed his whole mindset, Mtt feels like he can’t live properly without this angel who has saved him from disaster on ‘Myself‘.

Mtt is a Brazil-born, New Zealand-based indie-pop solo singer-songwriter and music producer who uses his fitness regime to sharpen his mind.

I’m currently working on an EP that I want to release in a few months that is going to take my music to a bit of a heavier side.” ~ Mtt

Taking us on a ride that mirrors the emotions of so many who feel like they can only achieve their goals with one particular person who is their guide in life, Mtt leads us into his mind which he hopes can be unlocked by himself soon as he feels so lost when alone.

Myself‘ from Brazil-born, New Zealand-based indie-pop solo artist and music producer Mtt, is a vividly described story about feeling like you are under a spell from someone who helps you become the best version of yourself each time you are around them. Sung with vigorous energy from an artist in a deeply personal story that has him shivering at times, with a nostalgic beat that has you swaying your whole body to this debut track all about trying to comprehend what is actually going on.

Hear this new single on Spotify and see more of the energy via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

The Underdog Rises: Kru Manasa sends us his loveletter to New York on ‘Want’

https://open.spotify.com/track/4023bP3P43Dqd37w6rwyp0?si=02543d52a69f4a74&nd=1

After courageously moving to NYC with just his two trusty guitars, a backpack, and a dream four months ago, Kru Manasa looked out of that dusty subway window on his way to the gym one day and just knew that this complex city had his heart on ‘Want‘.

Kru Manasa is a 23-year old Bangalore, India-born, New York, USA-based indie-pop singer-songwriter and aspiring actor at the Lee Strasberg Film & Theatre Institute.

Being an Indian and making it into the mainstream pop world, now that’s a first. But somebody’s gotta do it. I’m here, I’m ready.” ~ Kru Manasa

You feel like you have been transported into a beautifully honest mindset of love when you listen to Kru Manasa. The genuine nature of this ambitious young man is so easy to admire, as he shares his true feelings on a song that you will find highly memorable as it brings a welcome glow to your famished soul.

Want‘ from the NYC-based indie-pop artist and acting student Kru Manasa is a catchy single that has you feeling so much happier than before as you get wrapped into this ear-soothing experience. He sings with a huge smile and this kind of energy transmits like a massive light leading you to a better place as you realize where you wish to be in this world.

After chasing his dreams to be in a city that can either make or break you – this is the ultimate artist underdog – that never gave up and is exactly who we should all be rooting for.

Listen to his new single on Spotify and see more via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Leo breaks through the heartbreak in his indie-soul single, Helicopter Leaves

https://open.spotify.com/track/4MotGfqIXmjA6GBn5dD2T0?si=9XVwr7ePQGOrYVlGuJzTwQ

If you like your RnB fed through plenty of wobbly tape echo delay, the up and coming artist Leo’s latest single, Helicopter Leaves, is exactly the kind of hazy indie RnB pop catharsis you want to delve into. In sentiment, Helicopter Leaves is a bitter-sweet release that explores the memories and emotions shared with an ex, but Leo never bows to the melancholy; he keeps the tone as bright as his infectious optimism.

It was a bold move to try and make it with Leo as a mononym, but based on Helicopter Leaves, he has the right amount of talent and soulful warmth to do exactly that. If anyone is this generation’s answer to Jack Johnson, it is the 24-year old Massachusetts-hailing singer-songwriter that entrenches his work in his deep spirituality and determination to connect the dots that nature leaves creatives to play with.

Helicopter Leaves is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Embrace the chaos with Aimee Saturne’s alchemically ethereal dark pop single, Edge of the World

Dark pop alchemist, Aimee Saturne, proves that she’s still LA’s supreme in her latest single, Edge of the World, which incorporates her usual sultry air while encapsulating the same sense of trepidation that has been gripping us all a little too hard as of late.

Edge of the World finds an ethereal way to call out to anyone who is feeling trapped on our hell-scape of a planet where we can’t quite escape the unjustness or find an even footing within it.

The single starts with her smoother than smooth vocal timbre atop muted guitars; when the momentum begins to build in the electro-pop hit, there’s a tumultuous nature in spite of the arrestive pull of the moody melodies. Aimee Saturne deserves to be equally as revered as Billie Eilish, St Vincent, and every other pop visionary that is taking the future of pop into their deft hands. With her debut album currently in production, she is definitely one to watch.

Edge of the World is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast