Deborah's Child gets downright futuristic with "Chokin", a synthetic ode to conflicted emotions.

Synthpop was supposed to be the music of the future. Blending the nearly limitless sonic manipulation of sampling with the "anything goes, rip-it-up-and-start-again" attitude of Punk, synthpop was supposed to be unlike anything that had happened before, while still staying fashionable and accessible. It still seems like a missed opportunity, nearly 40 years later, that the early synthpop auteurs of Gary Numan or Depeche Mode, taking the arty conceptualism of Kraftwerk and high-brow musique concrete, so quickly succumbed to the status quo. Instead of synthpop, it became synthpop, i.e. boring hair bands with synths.

All of a sudden, it's like the futurist, sound-mangling potential brought on with electronic music and sampling technology just… paused. Synthpop settled into being boy bands and girl groups with a synth or a drum machine, maybe the occasional sample clumsily stapled overtop. Then, all of a sudden, synthpop resumed its futuristic drive in the 21st Century. Artists like Oneohtrix Point Never or the PC Music gang started to explore the radical sound-bending capacity of digital technology to create glistening, alien new worlds. Finally, here was a Pop Music meant for video game menus and surreal, extraterrestrial landscapes.



Instead of pianos, guitars, bass, and drums - the language of yesterday's Pop Music - future pop singer/songwriter Deborah's Child orchestrates laser harps and bubbling whirlpools as a trellis to weave her story of an unhealthy love affair on "Chokin". If you were to listen to an acapella, "Chokin" could send like a smooth, r&b-inflected slice of bedroom pop. The synthetic rainbow of electronic music makes it seem like the psychodrama is taking place in New Tokyo. Or Ready Player One.

Deborah's Child has flirted with electronic future pop sounds on some of her early singles, but "Chokin" is the first time she's fully leaned into the holographic hyperpop shimmer. It's a good look. We Are: The Guard hope she continues to explore these strange new worlds.

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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.