The Art of the Sad Banger

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Do you ever feel like a plastic bag? Drifting through the wind? Wanting to start again? If the answer is YES, then you’ve most probably encountered the mythical ‘Sad Banger’ at least once in your lifetime. Okay, maybe some of pop music’s saddest stompers aren’t as mysterious as I’m making out but, after a recent moment in which I found myself bingeing  on the darker side of pop, I felt it was high time I tried to unpack the power of the Sad Banger.

For many people, myself included, a music selection based on your mood can often be the perfect release whether you need to laugh, cry, or cry some more. While ballads and tender acoustic strums are all well and good, nothing quite tops the melancholic euphoria of a Sad Banger which typically encompasses feelings of: sadness, anger, regret, bitterness, pain, suffering etc. etc. (I am emotionally stable while writing this – promise.) Even if you’re not particularly down, the perfect Sad Banger can often create the illusion that you’ve just gone through some kind of crisis whilst still allowing you to pump your fist – case in point: Robyn’s stone-cold classic Dancing On My Own.

Making a playlist for this post really got me thinking about the abundance of brilliant Sad Bangers which have punctuated the world of pop in the last decade. From Miley to Marina, it’s been hard to escape the tear-soaked pop tune but, you know what, maybe this is what us 21st century pop fans are here for. Without getting too morbid, the world’s hardly been much of a barrel of laughs in recent years, while we all seem to be dealing with a digital hangover in the midst of a social media maelstrom. Is it any coincidence that Steps titled their new album Tears on the Dancefloor? (probably, tbh.)

Thankfully, I’m a strong believer in musical therapy, which is why I hope my playlist of Sad Bangers can help you find some light at the end of the tunnel. It seems to be working for me…

Check out my selection of Sad Bangers below:

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The Pop Scribe 10

After a 2-week break The Pop Scribe 10 is back back back! Things went a bit quiet after my first rundown of the best new releases in pop, but now I’ve got a brand new selection for you to feast upon. Making this second playlist was actually a bit more of a struggle than last time as the obvious pop bangerz seemed few and far between BUT, upon closer inspection, these past two weeks have gifted us with some subtly brilliant slices of pop from some unexpected places…

The second edition of The Pop Scribe 10 includes:

  • Zara Larsson perfecting both the sad AND ‘symphonic’ banger
  • (Clean Bandit providing the symphony)
  • Delightfully twisted pop from newcomer Billie Eilish
  • Blondie doing their best version of Blondie in 2017
  • Gorillaz returning with their classic Eastern-infused electro
  • A hazy tropical delight from Drake
  • Charli XCX (praise be) feat. Mura Masa
  • Icelandic troubadour Ásgeir on stunning pop form
  • Goldfrapp edging us ever closer to Silver Eye
  • The Sound of Arrows giving us LIFE

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5 reasons why Number 1 Angel pushed pop forward in 2017

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Praise be! Last Friday marked the release of untouchable pop artiste Charli XCX’s third mixtape Number 1 Angel and, after a weekend of debauchery soundtracked by said mixtape, I think it’s about time I threw in my two cents on why this is such an important release in the world of pop.

Apols in advance this is titled and reads like a Buzzfeed article!

1. The PC Music sweet spot

For a couple of years now PC Music has steadily been infiltrating the mainstream: the mysterious Sophie worked on Madonna’s deliciously trashy Bitch I’m Madonna, while Danny L Harle teamed up with Carly Slay Jepsen for the effervescent Supernatural. However, Charli has been one of the only mainstream pop artists to fully embrace the PC Music sound. Number 1 Angel feels like the perfect crossover moment where current pop trends collide with PC Music’s plastic, electro-experimentalism. Trendsetting? This is pop of the future.

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2. Girl Power

Starrah, Raye, MØ, Uffie, Abra, cupcakKe…

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…you only have to read the featured artists on Number 1 Angel  to understand Charli’s love and support for innovative and daring females in music. This guest lineup showcases female talent past, present and future, celebrating ladies in music who’ve firmly carved out their own lanes. From start to finish, Number 1 Angel presents us with a real sense of authentic female collaboration in the name of great pop music.

3. E•MO•TION

No, sadly the world wasn’t quite ready for a Jeppo and XCX collab (although, note the pic below!!) but one thing the pair do share is an ability to shape brilliant pop songs around the emotional highs and lows of L.O.V.E. While Number 1 Angel is laden with club-ready bops it also shows off Charli’s softer side, pairing dynamic pop production with lyrics that feel like they’ve been beamed straight from the XCX diary.

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4. Lipgloss. Lipgloss. Lipgloss.

5-STAR. HI-NRG. ACID CANDY POP PERFECTION.

Oh, and cupcakKe.

5. “XCX, Charli!”

Remember when Missy proclaimed “This is a Missy Elliott exclusive” or Jason cried “Jason De-rulooo”!? Charli has now adopted her very own tag line and, you know what, it works. 5 out of the 10 tracks on Number 1 Angel feature the “eh-eh-XCX” or “XCX, Charli” tags, announcing the arrival of brand Charli: popstar supreme.

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Check out the mastery of Number 1 Angel for yourself and let me know what you think:

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The Pop Scribe 10

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It has been a truly mammoth week for pop: Steps reunited in spectacular form; Charli XCX dropped a 10-track mixtape/opus; Nicki Minaj appeared out of nowhere with 3 brand new tracks, ranging from standard to stunning …and that’s not even the half of it.

In the spirit of that ‘#FridayFeeling’ and because there are just too many great new pop tracks this week to remain unheard, I’ve compiled a 10-track playlist known as ‘The Pop Scribe 10’. The playlist collects my favourite pop cuts from the past week and will be updated weekly, bi-weekly or maybe even monthly depending on the state of things in Pop Land. The playlist isn’t in order of best to second best, but you can usually assume that the first track is a veritable masterpiece. I’m also a strong believer in playlists sequenced like albums, meaning STAY OFF THAT SHUFFLE button and enjoy the shift in tone and atmosphere. (You can, of course, enjoy the music however you please – it’s fine.)

The first ever Pop Scribe 10 includes: 

  • 3 appearances from Charli XCX in pop domination-mode
  • Steps well and truly pulling it out of the bag
  • ionnalee stepping out of the mystery of iam and into banger territory
  • A thrillingly dark and gnarly slice of new Goldfrapp
  • Louisa Johnson on her best behaviour, but also very much not.
  • Reflective, wooziness from Nicki Minaj
  • Lorde: the balladeer
  • Little Dragon channeling the sweeter side of the 90s

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