In the ancient world, purple was originally the colour reserved for the imperial families of Rome, Persia and Egypt and while it’s no longer elitist, there’s still something special to be had to the red-meets-blue hue. Our Purple Pop selection showcases the most luxurious, beautiful and unmissable pop music finds for our ears to yours.
Kicking off our playlist today is rising future pop artist Nykki who recently shared new single ‘Playing It Cool’, an upbeat slice of pop perfection, alongside a playful 90s and Y2Y rom-com inspired music video. This flawlessly slick number is led by groovy guitar lines, funky bass grooves and pulse-pounding claps drums. The Czech artist really meets the energy of this track’s production with her lush vocals and optimistic lyrics. In fact, it’s her first entirely positive song. As a tribute to her boyfriend, this song swims in the endorphins of love and it’s really such a breath of fresh air.
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Sometimes we wonder if pop is even a genre, because it’s such a melting pot of sounds, styles, cultures and individualistic approaches to making music. Whatever the case is, we’re just happy to be here because we get to enjoy tracks like ‘My Head’ from the Boston, MA, artist Layto. This track is lifted from the recently released ARRIVED EP and it’s clearly a standout moment on that record. Combining electro-pop, dance and indie-rock, Layto opens up about his personal battles with self-doubt. This powerful single is accompanied by a symbolic music video which depicts Layto in the boxing ring fighting different versions of himself, each of whom represent the different inner voices of doubt and insecurity.
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‘Bonne Nuit’ is the perfect soundtrack for transitioning into the winter; it’s cosy, inviting and peaceful. The songwriter behind this is Mary Clements, the Canadian artist who has created a serene musical world of experimental, bilingual, folk-inspired art-pop songs. This song in particular takes a gentle approach to sleep, something that nearly everyone will go through periods of struggle with. Her French and English lyrics are so soothing and non-judgemental, for example “Avec mes peurs et défis, je fais des amis, come with me it’s okay, I’ll help you find your way,” the first part of which translates to “With my fears and my challenges, I make friends.” So next time you’re struggling to get your forty winks, allow Clements to dreamily sing you into the land of nod.
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Next up on our pop rotation is Allison Leah, the NewYork-born and Nashville based songwriter whose talent is in presenting honest and relatable stories embedded within ethereal pop melodies and effervescent bedroom-pop production. You can’t help but be drawn to Leah’s voice, which is crystal clear with a heart-warming tone, that relays her messages so sensitively as you’ll hear in recently released single ‘i gave u my number’. This whimsical pop song has the one-sided perspective of someone entering a new romantic relationship. It’s full of excitement and nervousness that’s absolutely infectious when listening to this sweet new song.
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With a song title like ‘Everybody Thinks I’m Strange’, you can’t help put be intrigued about what Oh Hannah has to say here. And like us, your expectations will be met. This fusion of 80s- inspired synths and alternative pop is the quirky number that this title had promised, but then it goes deeper than that. Hannah Khan, the London-based musician behind the moniker, made this song for anyone who ever feels like the odd one out and so she creates solidarity with all of those looking for it. She does so in the most artful of ways with layers of vocal harmonies, a dreamy production, and cutting vulnerability.
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We’re developing quite the theme in this installment of Purple Pop and it’s one of finding solace in music. ‘st.vincent’ from Australian indie artist catnip is a perfect fit into this concept. This single has the intimate and vulnerable sound of a bedroom-pop recording, emphasised by the open acoustic guitar strings and the artist’s unfiltered vocals. We don’t have much context around the song, but catnip’s little morsel of intel that was “another one forced out through a uni deadline” suggests that music for her (as it is for many if us) is a stress relief and something that we turn to in times of need.
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In an alternative reality where Jamie XX meets Kate Bush, you’d have ‘Summer Is Over’. Thankfully we don’t need to hop through the matrix since Happy Hollows is in the here and now making their genre-crossing music. Bringing together the 80s alternative-pop sensibility and modern minimalistic art-rock, this song captures the bittersweet end of one chapter and the beginning of another. It’s like the end of summer; it’s sad, but it’s also necessary. This is just part of the magic between the free-spirited guitarist Sarah Negahdari and the East Coast academic and bassist Charlie Mahoney, who manage to connect their polar opposite lives and approaches to music through their unique avant-garde sound.
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We started off this round-up with an optimistic song about love and it only seems fitting that we close this special collection of pop tracks with another one. Our final chapter comes courtesy of T. Shan, an artist currently based in NYC, but who grew up between America and China where he was exposed to a plethora of cultures and music styles. After going through a period of experimentation, his sound has settled on the alternative pop and hip-hop styles of Brockhampton and Frank Ocean, which makes space for many expressions of creativity whether that’s rap or something more melodious as we have with ‘Your Man’. With a delicate and restrained pop style, this single is a tender and heartfelt narrative of healing and opening yourself up to love again.
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