Things must change.

I remember long drives. Me, my tapes, my CD’s.

Driving while looking for music was a pretty careless act. Remembering the many times my eyes veered away from the road to flip and file through the collection makes me cringe, but probably not as dangerous as driving and texting…petty recklessness.

Clearly, when I hear certain bands I get nostalgic about those long drives. There’s an immediate connection to a certain time of my youth. Magnificent are those memories. Music was such an integral part of those moments…moments that often made me feel so free.

Depeche Mode was HEAVVVY in this rotation.

The Sun & The Rainfall
Someone will call
Something will fall
And smash on the floor
Without reading the text
Know what comes next
Seen it before
And it’s painful
Things must change
We must rearrange them
Or we’ll have to estrange them
All that I’m saying
A game’s not worth playing
Over and over again
You’re the one I like best
You retain my interest
You’re the only one
If it wasn’t for you
Don’t know what I’d do
Unpredictable like the sun
And the rainfall.

My secret garden’s not so secret anymore
Run from the house holding my head in my hands
Feeling dejected, feeling like a child might feel
It all seems so absurd
That this should have occurred
My very only secret
And I had to go and leak it!
My secret garden’s not so secret anymore!
No, my secret garden’s not so secret anymore!
Run through the fields, down to the edge of the water
Can’t stay long, here comes the reason why,
She’ll catch me if she can,
Take me by the hand
I’ll have to keep on running
And I just can’t see the fun in
My secret garden not being secret anymore!
It used to be so easy
On days such as these she’d
Search and search for hours
In among the flowers
I loved it!, I loved her!
Play the fool, act so cruel, I loved it!
Read her book, take a look, I loved her!
It all seems so absurd
That this should have occurred
My very only secret
And I had to go and leak it!
My secret garden’s not so secret anymore!

Peggy GOU

Though she does not fall into the category of radio pop music – Peggy Gou is iconic in her own ranks, as a producer/musician/DJ and part personality.

Among the women electronic Dj’s, from the Black Madonna, to HoneyDijon, to Nina Kravitz – Peggy really has my heart. As an Asian American woman, I never had many female influences of the Asian ethnicity. Especially ones that weren’t your stereotypes. Super talented, great style and strong! Of course, throw in beautiful and individuality and you have someone who I believe has an indefinite lasting quality.

She absolutely crosses borders and boundaries with her uplifting and positive mood boosting house and electronic dance music. It’s just so welcomed. SO SO VERY UPLIFTING. Her music video released to the public today (directed by Jonas Lindstroem) is a gorgeous execution of nostalgia attached to the dreamworld…sprinkled with lots of pride and confidence. You should know this by now – REPRESENTATION MATTERS.

It’s powerful and distinctive because she also sings in her native tongue. I love hearing her voice, it has a raspiness to it…and it’s so soothing. I wish someone like her existed when I was growing up.

From Wiki:

” Born in Incheon, South Korea, Peggy Gou began classical piano lessons at age 8. At age 14, her parents sent her to LondonEngland to study English. She moved back to Korea when she was 18 years old, but six months later she returned to London to study fashion at the London College of Fashion. After graduating, she worked as the London correspondent editor for Harper’s Bazaar Korea, and then moved to Berlin, Germany.

Gou was taught to DJ in 2009 by her Facebook friend from Korea. She had her first gig in Cirque Le Soir, Soho, and later performed weekly at The Book Club, East London. In 2013, she learned to use Ableton and began to create her own tracks. Her first track, Hungboo, was completed in 2014.[6] Hungboo was named for the hero of a Korean fairy tale. She played the track in Korea for the first time at the 2016 Style Icon Awards opening show, featuring award-winning actor Yoo Ah-in in a visual art video…”

 

Contemporary Pop Music

I’ve got so many passions – from writing to cooking…amongst others. Music is one of them.  So I’ll take a chance at writing about what young contemporary artists are inspiring me right now.

There are so few Top 40 American Pop icons that I appreciate. Never been a big fan of commercialized American Pop – from Ariana Grande to Katy Perry – I feel they lack the presence of a lasting musician.

However, the latest group of young musicians really blows my mind. Individuals who give their audience an intimate understanding of who they seem to be and portray. Whether it’s social media, or their music videos, their festival performances – these are my top 3 pop icons.  All 3 combine true talent, performance, passion and to connect to multiple generations with their music.

Billie Eilish with her dark electronic pop representing the U.S. Rosalia with her Spanish and classic flamenco vibes representing Spain, and Dua Lipa with her dance-pop representing the U.K and proudly her heritage of Albania.

Each artist has had the ability to work and create long-standing hits that don’t require you to scrape off the sugary substances that a lot of mainstream music is usually comprised of. Even with Katy Perry and Halsey – most of the American music market has yet to produce feminine talent akin to Dua Lipa and Rosalia – hence why Billie Eilish on these American Isles is such a welcome response to the needs of the music consumer today – she isn’t bubble gum and she is the complete antithesis of all of that.

I’d say Cardi B’s ability to be “real” is also why she is so huge and successful. But, let’s go back to music.  ALL 3 are internationally acclaimed because just marketing a face and subpar vocals will only leave you…eventually…because sometimes highly produced music and the science behind pop can make lasting impressions. Not always good – look at Baby Shark. But, when you have a voice and a genuine personality that can go with it, you can grab wallets as well as hearts.

Dua Lipa’s rougher voice and presence are not only appealing but it has an everlasting quality. Maybe there’s a tinge of Amy Winehouse in the throat. To me, she is the pop princess – well deserved and proving that she is an artist in her own right. Poised – and connects to the commoner – her’s is a story of family, friends, bonds, and music. Her music is strong, fun, and again, internationally, it is relatable. Producers from Diplo, Mark Ronson and Calvin Harris have worked with her to create hits but she on her own carries the strength to create the magic of pop. She is another generation European dance-pop along the lines of Kylie and Robyn, albeit less sprite-ish or pixie-esque.

Billie Eilish is connecting to the disparate youth with her indie-soul – her music isn’t complicated, but the story behind it is charming. Making music with her older brother – growing up with an eclectic entertainment family – part hippie – part creatives – part Hollyweird. Her brooding darkness, her lack of stilettos and glitter makes her truly gold in a market that is marred by caked-on makeup and false body parts.  Angelic voice cloaked in a dark spirits Dapper Dan Gucci robe.

Rosalia’s charm comes from the passion that ties into all of her music – from her videos her choreography, her vibrating falsettos, and her classically inspired flamenco roots which deeply indundates you with vibrations that make you believe that musicianship and performance truly do go hand in hand. She embodies the musician who has it all – the ability to perform the stamina and the grace as well as the vocals and talent. She is – the ultimate performer. Add to that the Latin music market is one of the largest in the world, with a language 2nd to English in numbers.

My favorite quote ” There are moments that are only a stone’s throw from a Grouper record; alongside decades-old songs about exile and poverty and doomed love, she covers “I See a Darkness,” by Bonnie “Prince” Billy. It is the simplest sort of concept album, held together by a single idea: death. Stark and heart-rending, it is almost savage in its melancholy…. music of universal passions.”  Pitchfork by Philip Sherburne