NEW INDIE POP: SOPHIE - IT’S OK TO CRY
Enigmatic producer SOPHIE emerges from the (cybernetic) shadows on “It’s Okay To Cry.”
Electronic music is often accused of being impersonal - more about product than personality, in keeping with its technoid post-human disembodied politics. While electronica’s utopian idealism lends itself well to many of today’s identity and racial politics - hinting at an egalitarian future, free of tribalism - the anonymity lends itself to a certain generic quality, with much electronic music sounding entirely interchangeable. It also encourages a detached, clinical intellectualism that favors the head over the heart, and even the flesh it’s meant to liberate.
At a certain point, we need a sense of the creator to truly relate to an artist or song, which is perhaps why so much electronic music has embraced Pop Music in the 21st Century.
The PC Music collective are one of the best examples of this pop/electronica hybrid, with SOPHIE leading the pack. SOPHIE’s digital hyperpop has lent a futuristic sheen to some of Pop’s biggest stars, most notably Britain’s Charli XCX, while also remaining rooted in PC Music’s clean, precise sound design and tongue-in-cheek late-capitalist critique, similar to other postmodern performance artists, such as That Poppy. SOPHIE’s anonymity allowed for accusations of appropriating struggles and identities other than their own, as well as glorifying Pop Music’s commodification with elaborate energy drink marketing campaigns.
Hearing SOPHIE’s hot-off-the-presses, in conjunction with the glamorous video goes to great lengths to lay those criticisms to rest, as well as reminding us of some of SOPHIE’s greatest charms - memorable, hummable melodies; glistening production; and ideas with heart. Rather than some sort of “return to form,” however, “It’s Okay To Cry” is SOPHIE perfected, distilled and refined to pop perfection. SOPHIE seems to have learned a thing or two with her big league collaborations, drawing out the grand climax until three-quarters of the way through, when the single breaks like an impending thunderstorm. It’s glorious.
SOPHIE - IT’S OK TO CRY
“It’s Okay To Cry” bodes great things for SOPHIE, and hopefully the rest of her PC Music cohorts. Interesting ideas, strong emotions, and a killer beat need not be mutually exclusive. Keep ‘em coming, SOPHIE, and We Are: The Guard will keep digging them!
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.