Something interesting is currently happening within pop- it’s getting experimental again.
Surely it’s no coincidence that Kate Bush, the Queen of reinvention, should be rediscovered by twentysomethings this year, thanks to Running Up That Hill featuring in Stranger Things. The spirit of the eighties which meant more esoteric artists like Bush, Prince and The Sugar Cubes could become huge, seems to have returned this year.
Stealing Sheep’s most recent album, Wow Machine draws heavily from John Baker, Delia Derbyshire and Kraftwerk. One track called Don’t Think Just Do is little more than found sounds, sparse percussion and harmonies. It’s totally brilliant.
FKA Twigs, Superorganism and Hot Chip continue to tread singular paths with wilfully disparate influences, restless and inventive.
Emerging acts like Jock Strap, Confidence Man and Mitski remain impossible to pin down to any one genre, but are undeniably pop.
Perhaps it’s a reaction to the last two years, when we all hunkered down, uncertain of when -or if – things would blow over.
But these artists feel like green shoots pushing through the cracks- pop that dares to push boundaries, while others are content to play it safe.