BEST NEW SONG: BOY PABLO - FEELING LONELY
Norway's Boy Pablo returns with the breeziest, most upbeat single about morning sadness ever!
"I woke up this morning / feeling lonely / You were gone, and my cellphone too / but what is this feeling? / Empty in my head." What's this? Did The Smiths finally get back together? Have The Cure just released a new single? Nope, these are the opening lines of "Feeling Lonely," the opening track of Boy Pablo's brand-new EP Soy Pablo. So is this some arty, moody, melancholy angst-rock, a la Radiohead? Or some dyed-in-the-wool slate&charcoal black goth rock? Or maybe just some miserablist middle-of-the-night ambient electronica?
Surprisingly, "Feeling Lonely" is none of these things. What it is, in fact, is possibly the bounciest, jauntiest, beachiest song about loneliness and isolation ever penned. With its springy, insanely melodic guitar riff and upbeat disco beats, "Feeling Lonely" is the sonic approximation of Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Newman. "What, me worry?" Pablo's vocals seem to be saying. If The Chainsmokers and The Growlers got together to cover New Order with Abba's rhythm section, it might sound a little something like "Lonely Boy."
BOY PABLO - FEELING LONELY
ScandiPop artists have a knack for preserving a bit of critical distance between themselves and their subject matter. Maybe that's how they write such insanely world-class Pop Music, approaching it with academic rigor and a slightly detached gaze. It gives a levitating, cruising quality to a lot of pop music from Norway and Sweden, like you're gliding along on a slight puff of air. Sure, you might miss out on some of the messiness of emotions but, after all, don't we get enough of that in life?
There is a contradiction within pop music and how we perceive pop musicians. On one hand, we expect them to be totally authentic and legit, at all times, speaking from their personal experience. At the same time, we expect to be able to relate to them, so we have a friendly ear and a shoulder to cry on when the chips are down.
Complex, contradictory tracks like "Feeling Lonely" fall in-between these two polarities. While some could accuse Boy Pablo of being escapist or not fully engaging with their emotions, there is something to be said for turning a bad situation into pure Pop Gold. These things, they happen, and often all of the time. Why wallow?
"Feeling Lonely" talks about bleak, despairing subject matter but it's one of the most fun tracks you'll hear this year. Boy Pablo has the silk-smooth metropolitan charm of early The Strokes, barring the amphetamine-soaked NYC worship. It's the perfect music for tying on your sneakers, putting on your headphones, and hitting the bricks to get over some heartbreak. We Are: The Guard recommend having a few of these numbers in your medicine bag for when the going gets rough. Take as needed for pain.
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.