What’s a pop star, really? The most simple answer has us thinking about a global fanbase that accompanies a pop star in whatever they do. Still, for the most part, pop stars aren’t, as we might think, singers who merely play up to the gallery. Audiences want to hear themselves, sure. But they also want to meet unique characters.
This is the task that Noak Hellsing, a young, would-be pop star, has taken up on the EP “Yesteryear.” It’s work that conveniently lands into the more commercial avenues of modern music. It is meant to showcase, in particular, Hellsing’s soulful, well-pitched vocals. Still, the six-song set is also meant to whisper a few secrets about the young man whose name is on the record.
The record’s opener, “Get Real,” features the kind of instrumental that borrows from the tradition of smooth soul-funk of the 1970s. This is, however, not a retro record, and the production stubbornly pushes the recording into modern territory. Hellsing’s vocals dominate this track and each of the others here. The singing is controlled, and youthful, and suggests that the Swede has more things on his other than just charming fans.
“Die Without Letting You Know” builds from an acoustic guitar backing upwards. The track may have listeners recalling some of the other chill-pop hits that Scandinavia has produced in recent years.
The famed Nordic knack for writing sweet, catchy melodies is also present on tracks like “When You Think of Me” or “When The Shadows Go Home,” the record’s best track. However, the elements that are really pushed to the forefront recall British soul music, especially the variety that variety that made artists like Craig David bonafide hitmakers in the early 2000s.
The EP closes with the short but rather daring ballad titled “Enemy.” This is the track where Hellsing allows himself to pour his heart out, where the production takes on a few risks and the one that ought to make listeners imagine what the teenage singers may be able to achieve in just a few years’ time.
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