Aidan & the Wild x Merel Sophie – The Whip
Genre: Americana, Retro Soul, Singer-Songwriter
Similar artists: The Tesky Brothers, Nathaniel Rateliff, Tedechi Trucks Band, Shuggie Otis, Otis Redding
Life has changed in all so many ways since the days when pop music was for most youths the most important thing in their lives. Apart from their attire and the people with which they hung out, it was their choice of music that said the most about who they were and, most importantly who they were not.
Now, what has also changed in people’s financial status. This matters! Pop music has always developed the most in countries where there is comfort and security. In these countries, there are fewer of society’s flaws to complain about. And, these people that are generally well-to-do need tunes as well.
This may account for the rise of pleasant folk-pop artists in recent years. Yes, it’s hard to get away from the meme of folk songs a la Lumineers being used mercilessly in car commercials. But, let’s face it. This music sounds pleasant, non-threatening, and always echoes something earthy, organic.
The collaboration between Dutch artists Aidan & the Wild and Merel Sophie on the single The Whip, does well to create music for that demographic. It’s a song that emphasizes the cool, breezy playing and singing of the musicians. This is a soundtrack for Sunday picnics, and there’s nothing wrong with picnics.
James Blake – Life Is Not The Same
Genre: Indietronica, Indie Pop, Dream Pop
We don’t usually review pop music. In fact, we wear this as a badge of honour. Oh, we’ll go in-depth about Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, but pop music … well, those big stars have publicists, PR people, and a whole bunch of mainstream media connections to fall back on.
It’s only that, in 2021, there’s something particularly bizarre about the way pop music, even its most mainstream variety, sounds. For the most part, the colourful, optimistic vision with which you’d associate commercial music is gone. Instead, pop star records sound as if they’ve been written and performed following a particularly intense session of primal scream therapy. Well, now we’re interested.
James Blake is one of the privileged few who can boast of having a genuine pop star career. Still, his current records don’t exactly sound like tunes meant to get people dancing on a Saturday night.
This is creepy, claustrophobic soul music. It sounds like a drunken call to an ex. It’s art-soul where the singing is just as important as the way the production gets to manipulate the sounds. Frankly, Life Is Not The Same is a creative and brave production that speaks to the mainstream fan’s longing. Modern problems call for modern pop solutions.