Apr 132011
 
Authors: Nic Turiciano

I sit here farting, trying to write a music review. Finding it hard. The question is, “What is pop music?”

Well, Michael Jackson was pop music. Britney Spears is pop music. Bruno Mars is something like pop music.

Is Panda Bear pop music?

It’s familiar like pop music. The melodies are natural and fluid. They’re infectious, actually, and easy to get stuck in the head. The music is light despite the heavy textures. So yeah, it’s pop music.

But, then again, it’s more advanced than pop music –– or at least the pop music we’re accustomed to. It’s amazing that the songs don’t sound forced because most of them are in time signatures that only kind-of exist. There’s no screaming guitar, no talk of sex or clubbing. Most of the vocals are incomprehensible.

But the songs are so organic that you don’t need to put any thought into them. You can, though, and it’s pretty rewarding if you do. It’s easy to understand why a lot of people imitate Panda Bear and why he doesn’t have to imitate anyone.

Most of the songs on “Tomboy” are built off of only a couple things: melody, sparse percussion and a host of samples and sounds that create musical mosaics. They aren’t the makings of pop songs, but nothing on “Tomboy” feels empty or out of place. It’s experimentation, but it sounds as tried and true as any Justin Bieber song.

Even the tracks that aren’t ‘bangers’ don’t feel like fluff or missteps. They are there for a reason. When was the last time a pop album was cohesive?

It’s not right to say that something can be too good, too forward thinking or too innovative for the title of ‘pop.’

It’s psychedelic without the acid. It’s predictable only because we’ve heard Panda Bear before. It’s welcoming despite the best efforts on Panda Bear’s part. It’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 verve@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:01 pm

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