Sunday, 26 July 2009

What could wonky poppers do next?

According to Wikipedia, 'Wonky Pop is a term used to describe a loose grouping of musical acts that play what the BBC calls "quirky, catchy and credible pop". '
There we go, I've summed it up by quoting someone else's words, so I can go and have a coffee now!

Those hipsters among you that keep keep their pointy noses in the Music Press will be familiar with all the recent documentation of 'Woman's Triumph Over The Pop Genre' in 2009. The likes of Lady Gaga, La Roux, LadyHawke and Little Boots (Weirdly all of which begin with an 'L', coincidence? I think not!) run the Synth corner of this style, and it is not often you will read about one without the other. (Note; despite her chart success, lady gaga is just hitching a ride on the hype horse)

It is believed the term 'Wonky Pop' was first used about Mika way back in 2007, but it is not fair to say that he created the phenomenon. Goldfrapp and Madonna was doing it Wonky-like while the Katie 'Ting Tings' was learning to shout! Now there is a way of describing the music, acts are queuing up to join the party. Given how recent this term was coined, about 90% of these acts have not released their second album (Mika has only just clocked in with his new single) and we are left wondering what they could do next.

Of course, Wonkyness stretches over a wide surface. R&B from the likes of Kid Kudi, VV Brown's Soul influences, Florence's dreamer-rock and Passion Pit's art-electro. As music grows, artists are pressed to find a distinguishing feature and a sound that matches it.

Take La Roux, which translates from french to 'The Red-Haired' one. Paralells could be drawn between her and Blondie, not just the 80's theme, but The Hair Colour. Blondie's eye-catching peroxide and La Roux's redhead rendition of the classic Flock of Seagulls cut. Her looks, in the nicest way possible are androgynous, but this is something that so belongs 80's that she herself emulates. These are things that will be important throughout her career, if not central but he music is a different matter.

Her music has a recurring beat present in every song which gives a tinny effect and uses the same set of synths over her wailing vocals to provide a Sweet / Sour contrast. This is one of my undeniably favourite combinations in music history, but how will the Redhead keep it up for a second album? Madonna was known for reinventing herself with every album, going through a disco stage, hippie goddess, R&B, Urban Pop. The catch is that Madonna relied on new producers, whereas La Roux co-produces her own music with Ben Langmaid, who I assume is a close friend. Can he do anything else?

The Same applies to the other electronic acts, Little Boots and Passion Pit. Where next?
A question is raised, should artists feel they have to change their genre to survive? Strong influences to Wonky Pop were masters of reinventing themselves, David Bowie, Kylie, Madonna, so should this trait be a MUST for all the artists?

Please vote in the polls so I can compile information for a follow-on article :)

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