Browsing Category

Pop Music Blog & Promotion

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.

Out of Time ft Jojo Guo Elevated Phil Raskin to Audio Legend Status

The wall of sound that rushes right over you when you hit play on the standout single, Out of Time, from the three-track single, Fade, affirms that Phil Raskin has earned a place among the likes of Phil Spector, Tom Dowd, and George Martin in the audio engineer hall of fame.

The clarity, depth, and all-consuming intensity within the synthesis of pop, rock and soul make the production a phenomenon in its own right – not that the immensity of talent nestled within the performance can be understated. With guitar riffs that paralyse with their overdriven power, organ keys that transcend enough to escape material reality, and the 70s pop-rock piano melodies that intensify the emotion within Jojo Guo’s vocals and wash away the decades, Out of Time is a timelessly indomitable multisensory experience that is by far one of the most Grammy-worthy pieces I’ve heard in the past decade.

To hone his talent, the multinational engineer studied Music Production & Engineering, Film Scoring and Audio Post-Production at Berklee before relocating to LA where he became an integral part of Igloo Music Studios, working on projects for Netflix and Disney. Further into his career, he recorded a full choir session for the 2023 Super Bowl Pre-Show and was put in charge of Spatial Quality Control of Dolby Atmos deliverables for Camel City Sound. At this stage, if he had any more feathers in his cap, he’d need an aviary to contain them.

Stream Out of Time on Spotify or purchase the single via Apple Music.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Slender Dan dawned an electro-pop awakening with ‘Every Morning the World is Created’

In their latest single, Every Morning the World is Created, Slender Dan captured the essence of electro-pop while infusing it with a soul-stirring spiritual motif. From Nashville’s avant-garde scene, the duo channels their fascination with the psychedelic facets of life into this track.

It’s a tribute not just to personal transformations such as motherhood and rebirth, as Heather of Slender Dan shares, but also to the musical forebears who have sculpted the landscape of synth-pop.

The autotuned vocals climb ceaselessly, crafting an ethereal canopy above the dense, moody beats. This striking contrast grounds the listener, even as the melody seeks to lift them into a transcendental state. Slender Dan adeptly navigates through the shadows of Radiohead and the luminescent arcs of Electric Light Orchestra, with nods to the digital heartbeats of The Human League and the introspective harmonies of Boygenius.

As we approach Mother’s Day, this single serves as a reflective medium on the cyclical nature of life and the continuous giving of our planet. Hit play, and let Slender Dan guide you through a musical exploration that encourages appreciation of our ever-giving world.

Stream Every Morning the World is Created via Spotify when it reaches the airwaves on May 10th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Serotonin Surge: Kennedy Administration’s ‘Be Your Lucky Number’ Strikes R&B Gold

From the first vocal note of Kennedy Administration’s single “Be Your Lucky Number,” you’re pulled under the artist’s infectiously vibrant spell which evokes euphoric soul over the zestfully serotonin-soaked groove pockets that carry the synthesis of hip-hop, RnB, and funk, leaving ample room for the pop hooks that keep you immersed in this riot of high vibe charisma that Kennedy Administration has become renowned for.

Every now and again, rare artists emerge that can transcend sound with the soul they deliver, it’s safe to say that Kennedy Administration is firmly in that camp. They’re the antithesis of your average painting-by-numbers artist, their intuitive relationship to music ensures that when Kennedy attacks the canvas, she becomes a conduit for unbridled otherworldly feel-good sensations.

Kennedy’s roots in Michigan’s musical soil, combined with her collaborative spirit alongside the keyboardist and producer Ondre J in New York, have cultivated a fertile ground for their creativity. The dynamic project, based in Brooklyn/NYC, pulses with the energy of the city. Their joy and passion are palpable, promising listeners an immersive journey into a world where every note celebrates the power of music. The single could easily be sold as a cure for depression.

Stream the live performance of Be Your Lucky Number at Studio G in Brooklyn on YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

London’s Forsylver became indie royalty with their latest release, Promethazine Queen

Launched to a capacity crowd at 93 Feet East in Shoreditch, the latest single, Promethazine Queen, from London’s hottest breakthrough indie outfit, Forsylver, is the perfect introduction to the expansively influenced outfit who have hit the ground running straight out of the gate.

With a vocal style that shifts between invokes the sticky-sweet euphonic magnetism of The Feeling harmonising atop the flares of funk in the eclectic indie-pop-rock tapestry to Arctic Monkeys-reminiscent cutting commentaries Forsylver’s distinctive style emboldens the sincerity within Promethazine Queen. From the Daft Punk-esque riot of a middle eight to the jangle pop guitars to the complex time signatures in the rhythm section, Promethazine Queen is a perfect circle of expression and innovation.

Instead of following trends, the fourpiece, fronted by Joe Ewer with Will Farrow carving out the funk-pop guitar chops, Alex McKenzie feeding the rhythms on bass and Shunya Matsumoto giving the percussion a Radiohead-art-rock flair, are etching their innovation into the tapestry of the future of indie.

Forsylver may have only been on the scene since late 2023, but they’re already an unreckonable force. With plenty more planned for 2024, they should be the epicentre of every indie fan’s radar.

Promethazine Queen was officially released on May 3rd; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Mia Laren navigates passion and fatal dysfunction in her Latin Dance Pop track, My Heart

Since 2019, the Baltimore-born, Cali-based singer-songwriter, dancer and producer, Mia Laren, has rhythmically and emotionally moved her international fanbase; her latest Latin Dance Pop track, My Heart (can’t live or live or without you), captures Laren at her most infectious, intimate and powerful.

After an intro which nods to Gaga’s Alejandro, Laren opens her single up to a sensually electrifying, moodily hypnotic groove which constructs an exotically rich platform for her arcane harmonies to ascend from. The monocultural mould disintegrates around her infusion of folky Eastern mysticism and Latin guitars in the electro-pop mix which explores the tormenting nature of your heart beating for someone that will ultimately be the death of you if you keep clinging to the dysfunction in the name of passion.

It’s a rare feat to discover a release that is organically rooted in the heritage of Latin and folk yet transcends contemporary pop trends with a stylish flair that embodies couture pop, yet, five years after learning how to produce music on her laptop, Mia Laren achieved it with plenty of sincerity and authenticity to spare.

My Heart was officially released on April 24; stream the official music video on YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Etherdene delivered a tenderly interstellar reminder of our place in the universe with ‘We Are in Space’

We’ve made our adoration of Etherdene’s illuminatively authentic dreamy synth-pop signature and her evocatively ethereal vocals no secret. After the release of her latest single, We Are in Space, which serves as a groundingly interstellar reminder of our place in the universe, she’s affirmed her position as one of the most promising artists of her generation.

Following an open sequence of glassy synths that resound as though they could have been conjured by the Weeknd, Etherdene drifts her latest tender tour de force into a shoegazey installation that cuts as deep as Slowdive’s discography. As the instrumentals glide and glisten throughout the impeccably crafted progressions, We Are in Space tears at the heartstrings with a reprise of, “We are in space, I don’t know what’s going on, but I love you, I love you”.

Even though it is all too easy to feel minuscule and inferior when contemplating the vastness of the universe, Etherdene ensured that there was no danger of that through the soulful juxtaposition of her refrain which testifies to the true meaning of life in the chaos of our mostly understood universe. The sticky sweet and synthy brand of romanticism is enough to drive you to the brink of tears before replenishing your soul with euphoria. Someone give the girl a Grammy.

We Are in Space moved into Earth’s orbit on April 24; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

John Jackson burst the complacency bubble with his authentically electric Britpop-esque hit, Hero

John Jackson’s single, Hero, from his debut EP, Tomorrow, is a tour de force in alt-rock, weaving together scintillating organ tones akin to Inspiral Carpets with the harmonies reminiscent of Paul Draper. By adding the unmistakable energy of Blur and the percussive swagger of the Stone Roses, Jackson crafted a track that is authentically electric to its core.

Based in Brighton and Hove, yet carrying the spirit of his Hackney origins, Jackson delivered a sound that directly confronts the listener with its poignant lyrical messaging – “If you’re not dancing you might as well march”. The production is sharp, ensuring every word resonates with a clear call to shake off complacency. It’s a rallying cry for the outsiders, the overlooked, and those yearning for a figure to redefine the current narratives. The nostalgic elements are cleverly used as intrinsic thematic devices that highlight our tendency to bury our heads in the sand when facing future uncertainties, only to look back on the past with rose-tinted glasses.

Hero is a powerful start to Jackson’s series of planned releases, promising a blend of personal, political, and social themes delivered through his eclectic musical style. It’s a track that not only stands out for its compelling composition but also for its capacity to engage and inspire, making John Jackson a name to watch in the alt-rock arena.

Stream Hero from May 1st on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rock your way into another dimension with Steve Schuster’s psychonautic passport to the 60s, Sassafras Supersonic

Steve Schuster

Steve Schuster’s single, Sassafras Supersonic, taken from his LP, Permanently High, is a vibrant homage to 60s pop & rock, which rides the surf waves as smoothly as the Beach Boys to create a harmonised to the nines nostalgic nod to the era.

Every 60s psychonaut will find familiar comfort in its release, which also radiates the kaleidoscopic colour and charm of The Beatles. However, Schuster doesn’t merely replicate; he innovates, transcending cross-Atlantic appeal with the zany lyrics which invite listeners on a cosmic trip across constellations and into another dimension.

The sticky-sweet explosion of expression, filtered through infectiously honeyed 60s pop-rock progressions, ensures that there’s charisma in every chord and the soul of the track reverberates viscerally enough that your mind will be open to the idea that if this world is just an illusion, imagination is the only passport needed.

Schuster, an award-winning songwriter with a career spanning several decades, showcased his prowess in blending classic rock influences with contemporary flair in this transfixing temporal gateway. His latest album promises a similar journey of emotional and thematic exploration. Recorded with meticulous dedication and the multifaceted talents of producer Mike Pascarella, it’s set to resonate with fans old and new.

Stream the Permanently High LP via Steve Schuster’s official website from May 1st.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Bruj pushed funk into psychedelically interstellar waters with ‘The Edge’

Bruj’s latest single, The Edge, is an interstellar escapade that melds funk, electro, soul, and pop into an exhilarating synthesis which will juxtaposingly sink your senses into catharsis.

From the energetic pulse of choppy funky staccato guitars to the unwavering force of steady percussion and snaking basslines, this track offers more than just sound—it crafts a visceral experience. Listeners are whisked away into a psychedelic nirvana, enveloped in the hypnotically exotic warmth that distinguishes Bruj’s sonic approach.

Originating from Brussels, the trio—Antoine, Simon, and Raphaël—have honed their collective expertise since 2014, refining their influences into scintillating, soul-affirming auditory narratives. Since their transformation in 2022 into original composers, their music has assumed a fresh dimension of creative freedom, evidently showcased in this release.

The Edge excels in its ability to transport its audience far beyond the constraints of material reality. When immersed in rich pools of tonal bliss, you’ll instantly succumb to the grooves which testify to Bruj’s ability to craft experiences beyond the borders most artists are willing to take their sound.

The Edge dropped on April 15th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Drench Yourself in the Decadence of PeachMotif’s Latest Dream Pop Hit, Don’t Break Your Neck

PeachMotif’s latest single Don’t Break Your Neck sets a high bar for emotional and sonic depth. The Atlanta-based dream pop duo, comprised of Steffi Jo and Corbin Hoats, channelled their rich backgrounds in performance and production into a track that radiates a Yin-Yang effect through the equilibrium of style and soul.

Don’t Break Your Neck is underpinned by glassy synths that glisten with a brightness akin to Warpaint’s coolest moments. The crystalline vocal lines shimmer, weaving through the production with a mesmeric luminosity. Each note is carefully curated, ensuring that the instrumentation not only constructs and deconstructs the musical landscape but also toys with the listener’s emotions—balancing them delicately on a tightrope.

The fusion of solid, syncopated backbeats with cascading drops radiates hypnotic warmth, drawing the listener deeper into PeachMotif’s arcane atmospheric creation. As the track melodically and emotionally progresses, it illustrates PeachMotif’s ability to blend commercial potential with profound narrative depth.

Steffi and Corbin’s chemistry is palpable, reflecting their shared history and deep understanding of each other’s artistic strengths. Originating from their collaborative efforts during a local theatre production, their partnership thrives on a mutual passion for authenticity and emotional resonance in their music.

Don’t Break Your Neck was officially released on April 12th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast