I sit here farting, trying to write a music review. Finding it hard. The question is, â€œWhat is pop music?â€
Well, Michael Jackson was pop music. Britney Spears is pop music. Bruno Mars is something like pop music.
Is Panda Bear pop music?
Itâ€™s familiar like pop music. The melodies are natural and fluid. Theyâ€™re infectious, actually, and easy to get stuck in the head. The music is light despite the heavy textures. So yeah, itâ€™s pop music.
But, then again, itâ€™s more advanced than pop music â€“â€“ or at least the pop music weâ€™re accustomed to. Itâ€™s amazing that the songs donâ€™t sound forced because most of them are in time signatures that only kind-of exist. Thereâ€™s no screaming guitar, no talk of sex or clubbing. Most of the vocals are incomprehensible.
But the songs are so organic that you donâ€™t need to put any thought into them. You can, though, and itâ€™s pretty rewarding if you do. Itâ€™s easy to understand why a lot of people imitate Panda Bear and why he doesnâ€™t have to imitate anyone.
Most of the songs on â€œTomboyâ€ are built off of only a couple things: melody, sparse percussion and a host of samples and sounds that create musical mosaics. They arenâ€™t the makings of pop songs, but nothing on â€œTomboyâ€ feels empty or out of place. Itâ€™s experimentation, but it sounds as tried and true as any Justin Bieber song.
Even the tracks that arenâ€™t â€˜bangersâ€™ donâ€™t feel like fluff or missteps. They are there for a reason. When was the last time a pop album was cohesive?
Itâ€™s not right to say that something can be too good, too forward thinking or too innovative for the title of â€˜pop.â€™
Itâ€™s psychedelic without the acid. Itâ€™s predictable only because weâ€™ve heard Panda Bear before. Itâ€™s welcoming despite the best efforts on Panda Bearâ€™s part. Itâ€™s pop music but on an elevated level. Apparently some things evolve just when it seems like they never will.
Music reviewer Nic Turiciano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.