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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.

Trouble: Camila Knight hopes for one more chance in love on no need to say goodbye

Hoping for more time to cross the river and save this drowning romance, Camila Knight displays so much strength on the loving anthem to drift all doubts away with no need to say goodbye.

Camila Knight is an eclectic alt-pop singer-songwriter who performs with so much grace and desire on each one of her stunning soundtracks.

I wrote this song in mid-August 2022 building it up on an initial idea that I had for a chorus melody. I composed it on my old piano in my cosy basement studio adding in the melody for the verses and lyrics. After some alone time and roughly two songwriting sessions, the song was ready. As soon as I finished it I played it acoustically on Twitch and then started rehearsing it with my band. Recorded a demo in my home studio and then at the beginning of October 2022 we went to the recording studio to record drums (Jorge Gándara). Afterwards, I worked on the production and mixing/mastering remotely across the continents. The song was produced by the wonderful Isaiah Jose and was mixed/mastered by the amazing Mike Dwyer that collaborated with such great artists as Shawn Mendes, Jade Bird, Vance Joy and The Lumineers.” ~ Camila Knight

After purring our trepidations away like a caring angel on Brave from December 2021, Camila Knight soars from the pain and aviates towards the happy place she feels ready for. Showing us why her music has been so heavily streamed all over the globe, we find a truly soul-healing artist to believe in.

no need to say goodbye by the superb and rising alt-pop singer-songwriter Camila Knight is a rather fuse-friendly soundtrack to turn on loud when additional inspiration is required.

With a mind-soothing single to soar high inside when the storms are still brewing, this is a supreme endeavour made for the world to heal all wounds no matter the current climate.

Listen up on Spotify. See more on the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Oklahoma’s Ozzie Aguilera drops impressively motivating single Pretty Boy

Promoting self-awareness and individuality, Ozzie Aguilera might have dropped the anthem of substance which we have all been looking for on Pretty Boy.

Ozzie Aguilera is an Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based indie pop singer-songwriter who has risen from the depths of self-doubt and continues to shine so brightly.

Questioning yourself should never be an option under any circumstances. You have to hold your head high, and constantly remind yourself who you are.” ~ Ozzie Aguilera

Pouring all apprehensions away like a kind warrior who is here to guide us away from treacherous waters, Ozzie Aguilera is on top form with Pretty Boy and shall alleviate all doubts into the past like a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Pretty Boy from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based indie pop singer-songwriter Ozzie Aguilera is a marvellously devised track to get inspired by right now. Skyrocketing so freely and with a conscious decision to help the world flourish through genuine energy, this is one of the more illuminating efforts of 2023 so far.

Turn up this new single on Spotify. See more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Madishu is a contemporary electro-pop cut above the rest in her hypersonically redemptive single, Naïve

Madishu

The Austrian electro-pop artist, Madishu, is off the sonic Richter scale in her latest single, Naïve. The piercing RnB-tinged electro-pop aesthetic will ensnare you from the first melodic hook, while the lyrical vulnerability pushes you deeper into the soulfully disarming hypersonic world, which will be a hit with any fans of 8 Bit-adjacent music.

If any artist can relinquish you from the shame of being naïve, it is Madishu with this addictively vindicating earworm which effortlessly demonstrates the beauty in sincerity when there’s such a scarcity.

“The song is about a toxic friendship I broke free from, and the journey I took in learning to value myself enough to no longer tolerate people who constantly take from me without giving back.”

After achieving viral renown via her collaboration with MOONBOY on the track Need U and off the back of her own original work, the Austrian singer-songwriter is a vision of visceral colour in a drab and dark world.

Naïve will officially stream across all major platforms on February 3rd. Hear it here.

Follow Madishu on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Review by Amelia Vandergast.

Step Into The Neon Light: Alli Gemini skyrockets to the greatest heights possible on Wings

Songs from the Heart by Alli Gemini

Taken from her splendidly authentic debut 5-track EP Songs from the Heart, the kind Welsh angel Alli Gemini helps us to stay young forever on the exquisite new single to heal all sad souls with on Wings.

Alli Gemini is a Crickhowell, Wales-based indie pop singer-songwriter/actor who has the kind of mesmerizing beauty intertwined into her spirit which will heal all gloomy eyes.

This track was inspired about a dancer that is unable to dance finally dances again. It is about anyone that has a dream.” ~ Alli Gemini

Showing us the inner power of a dream possible if believed in enough, Alli Gemini projects our thoughts towards a happier perspective on this ear-opening soundtrack to never giving up. Sung so elegantly and showered with so much to ponder, this is a rather important single which is so relatable.

Wings from Crickhowell, Wales-based indie pop singer-songwriter Alli Gemini is a truly glorious song from an incredibly kind heart who has reminded us what pure intentions sound like. Her vocals seem to ease the pain and soothe the soul from the harshness of current-day reality.

Listen up to this lovely new single on Bandcamp. See more news on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Saw that photo of you both: Katija feels like a heartbroken fool on the vibrant new release Won’t Waste My Time

Hiding those tears away as she feels so used from a past heartbreak, Katija sings with so much astonishing quality and a drive which will surely inspire many to wipe those traumas away on Won’t Waste My Time.

Katija is an Auckland, New Zealand-based indie pop singer-songwriter who is a proudly queer artist on a mission to spread her message to the world.

She previously has been a blues singer, gigging regularly around Auckland, and brings her blues style of vocals to the pop genre. She also was the organizer of the “Proud Mary” queer dance parties that celebrated female artists and DJs, the ethos of celebrating musicians and artists from all walks of life is dear to her heart.” ~ Katija

Delving into our deepest mindsets with so much care and love, Katija is truly outstanding in her latest gem which might put everything in perspective again. Moving on from the pain with an influential performance, we find a song made for anyone who has felt romantically let down recently.

Won’t Waste My Time from Auckland, New Zealand-based indie pop musician Katija is one of the most dynamic singles anyone is likely to hear in 2023. Accomplished with exquisite energy which will heal sad ears from any sadness, this is a must-listen from a courageous soul who is only gaining more self-awareness by the minute.

Turn this up loud on Spotify. See more energy on her IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

We Won’t Recover: Denver harmony masters Better Weather sees that perfect day turn grey on debut track Too Close For Comfort

Initially facilitated by Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, Better Weather performs with so much seriously genuine skill and carefully crafted eloquence on their debut single Too Close For Comfort.

Led by music producer/songwriter Skyler McCoy, Better Weather is a proudly University of Denver Lamont School of Music student-fused music project who lathers lush vocal harmonies into our hearts.

‘The band has a debut album in the works, which draws inspiration from a variety of genres, ranging from 20th century classical to modern indie and pop. All the musicians are classically- or jazz-trained and play multiple instruments, and three of its members happen to have perfect pitch.” ~ Better Weather

Bringing the world a reminder of why a debut song is so special, Better Weather has dropped a sure-fire timeless classic to play on repeat whenever those reflective moments eerily resonate at a precise moment in time we can’t explain.

Too Close For Comfort from the University of Denver Lamont School of Music project Better Weather is one of those dreamy songs that many will truly correlate to. This is the story of remembering a previous love which sadly moved on, with tiny fragments still looming no matter the time or day. Projected so calmly with a world-class mentality which shall soothe all memories away for the better.

Hear this fine single on Spotify. See more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

YME adrenalized self-liberation in her euphoric electro-pop hit, I Rule the World

Since making her 2021 debut, the Netherlands-hailing electro-pop sensation YME has established herself as one to watch alongside her producer, Marco Roosink, as she transcribes personal experience into vulnerably infectious earworms.

The independent artist’s latest single, I Rule the World is a triumphantly empowering track which does plenty more than testifies to individual strength; it shares the euphoria of self-liberation. As her vocals switch between ethereal soul to demurely playful grace, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the adrenalized helter-skelter hit that embeds entrancing elements around addictively encapsulating lyrics.

I Rule the World was officially released on January 19th; check it out on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Transcend gravity with Marcus Liuzzi’s spacey 80s synth pop serenade, No One Better Than You

There was no forgetting Marcus Liuzzi after his lasciviously hooky 2022 single, 2 Night Stand. He’s swooned in with the Chris Isaak 80s vibes once more in his proclamation of enduring passion, No One Better Than You. The synthy, spacey pop tones push the single beyond the earth’s atmosphere, transcending gravity and every pop archetype that came before it.

No feeling quite matches the sensation of earnestly upholding someone as the reflection of perfection in your eyes – especially when their own self-image is dimmed with doubt, leaving you compelled to celebrate them to put back the shine in their tear-streaked aplomb.

“you feel as though you’re broken, you’re not the only one, you put your trust in someone else, and look what they’ve done” may just be the most compassionate lyric penned in the last decade.

Listen to No One Better Than You on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

On Her Own: Anna Helen drops an unforgettable single to heal the pain with on Healing

Gracefully flowing from her gorgeously sweet 3-track EP called Twenty to Self, Anna Helen shows us the fight needed when you don’t receive that extra love needed on Healing.

Anna Helen is a fresh-faced and vocally brilliant Berlin, Germany-based indie pop singer-songwriter who makes music for others to face those life-changing challenges.

I started writing poetry and short stories when I was just 10 years old. Telling stories and trying to connect with others through words and art has always been the moving force in my life. Soon I discovered my love for music, started playing the piano and singing my poetry instead of reading it aloud. When I realised that through my songs I can speak up for others and take a stand as well as work through my own obstacles it became my goal to share my songs with the world.” ~ Anna Helen

Looking for a special light to take the darkness away, Anna Helen wrote this song for those who needed it most. She kindly washes away all the past hurt and slides our attention away into the moment to start the lets-get-better process quicker.

Healing from Berlin, Germany-based indie pop singer-songwriter Anna Helen is a rather sublime effort from an angelic goddess who is showing us the way to a better path. Performed with a superb tone and featuring so many lyrically intricate moments to treasure, we find a track to feel okay with again. Finally.

The storm does eventually pass after all.

Hear this top new song on Spotify. See more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Lindsey Sampson – Sand: An Elemental Folk-Pop Triumph.

With frenetic synth sequencing that made us nostalgic for the soundscapes from Alan Vega, the pop singer-songwriter, Lindsey Sampson’s latest single, Sand, is an elemental triumph.

Oceanic momentum flows through progressive rising tides in the un-archetypally structured single that harnesses deep reverence for natural phenomena and articulately observes how nature often works to reflect introspective sensations.

Lindsey Sampson, who spends her time between Nashville and New England, marries the soul of country with a contemporary indie folk pop edge that is definitively hers. We can fully attest to her ability to appeal to the spirituality that lies within us all – regardless of whether we nurture that relationship or not.

Since her humble beginnings, the singer-songwriter has been nominated for the award of Best Female Performer at the New England Music Awards and received many other accolades along the way while performing solo and as part of her folk-rock band, Visiting Wine. 

Sand will officially release on January 27th. Dig your toes in on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast