GCN’s king of culture, Conor Behan is back back back again with his pop picks to keep you dancing this weekend!
I don’t know about you, but at points in this lockdown moment as a pop music superfan I was missing the comfort blanket of uptempo tunes. Thankfully this crop of albums and singles has gotten me back into the pop swing of things.
RINA SAWAYAMA – RINA
Japanse born and London raised Rina Sawayama has been forging her own pop lane for a number of years now, with EP releases and stellar tracks like ‘Cherry’ and ‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’.
Sawayama is an internet-savvy queer popstar who’s part of an emerging vanguard of artists nodding to existing models of pop stardom while forging a less chart-chasing career. That vision is executed in full on her thrilling debut album, Rina. Swirling 2000’s R&B, J-pop and more influences into a sharp pop cocktail, this is an album that feels nostalgic while at the same time nodding to forward thinking tunes. It signals the arrival of a new pop superstar.
From the swaggering strut of ‘Commes Des Garcons’ (which even got a remix featuring Pabllo Vittar) to the wistful ‘Chosen Family’, Sawayama has delivered an album discerning pop fans will find endlessly thrilling.
SONIKKU – JOYFUL DEATH
Dance music thrives in the club world but thankfully UK DJ SONIKKU’s debut album, Joyful Death, is good enough to bring the party to wherever you’re self-isolating.
I became obsessed with SONIKKU’s track ‘Sweat’ last year – a collab with US popstar LIZ, co-written by electro pop queen Little Boots. As a DJ, he’s toured the world and plays regularly at queer events in the UK. His debut album is stuffed with more pop gems like the propulsive ‘WKND’, the tongue-in-cheek ‘Don’t Wanna Dance With You’ and the Pet Shop Boys-esque ‘Let The Light In’.
Everything from video game soundtracks to ’80s dance pop music are in the mix, and with his clever ear for pounding dancepop gems, Joyful Death shows SONIKKU deserves a seat at pop’s super producer table.
CHUNG HA – STAY TONIGHT
If you’re in need of a blockbuster pop single and music video, then K-Pop star Chang Ha’s ‘Stay Tonight’ is just the ticket.
An electropop stomper that would make Madonna and Kylie jealous, it’s a floor filler with a big hook and a driving sense of yearning. It’s a track designed for endless replays but it’s the jaw dropping video that will have you even more shook.
Slickly moving between setups while Chung Ha and her dance posse effortlessly vogue, it’s the kind of big-budget fare Western popstars don’t always indulge in these days.
A feast for the eyes and ears.
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