Who will usher in a new era of pop? Here are ten artists likely to make the most impact in the near future.
A facet of popular culture that frequently is at the receiving end of derision of ‘indie’ or ‘underground’ circles, pop music is in actual fact often the site of technological and stylistic innovation- channelling the sounds of the underground and disseminating them to the masses.
Timbaland’s fresh production techniques completely altered the pop landscape of the early naughties, whilst recently, professional egotist and sometimes rapper Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ injected the stark and abrasive sounds of experimental hip hop into a mainstream context. It’s a continuous and cyclical process of obsolescence and fresh ideas that has sped up as the instantaneous nature of the internet becomes the central tool in the transportation of the cultural to-and-fro.
But who will usher in a new era of pop in 2014? Which artist will emerge brimming with new ideas, or even just provide fresh spins on existing concepts? Here is a list of the ten most likely candidates:
Chloe boasts 3 million followers on Soundcloud alone
Having signed a record deal with Columbia Records shortly after leaving school, her 2013 track ‘No Strings’ caused ripples amongst bloggers, leading to an including in BBC’s Sound of 2014 list as well as a nomination for a Brits Critics Choice Award. At only 19, Chlöe is set to release her eponymous debut album of modern pop which details the trials and tribulations of teenage life with acute first-hand observation. The young songstress possesses copiously more ‘edge’ than the likes of current pop stars such as the rather bland Ellie Goulding. Having won accolades for her straight-laced and unperturbed observations of teenage sexual exploits with the upfront ‘No Strings’, Chloe could easily be described as 2014’s teenage version of Lily Allen but that would not do the young Chloe justice. With over 3 million followers on Soundcloud, it seems summer will usher in the teenage Howl as a certified pop star.
It's Clean Bandit!
Clean Bandit have worked with a wide array of vocalists, including Sharna Bass (Pictured, far left)
Having scored a huge number one with the effervescent breakthrough single ‘Rather Be’, which stayed at the top spot for a commendable four weeks, the quartet of Cambridge graduates look set to further instil themselves on the wider public conscious with the impending release of debut album ‘New Eyes’. Offering an idiosyncratic blend of dance, electronica and classical, the foursome provide a fresh take on the pop-dance crossover smash hit, successfully fusing string instruments and supremely danceable beats with incredibly catchy results. With ‘Rather Be’ alone resulting in a full UK tour which culminates in a show at the legendarily imposing Brixton Academy, their effortless and summer-ready pop will be a familiar feature on radio and in clubs for the next year at the very least.
Originally starting out as a crunk-pop project, the Danish singer has instead opted for the pathway of kaleidoscopic pop which fuses several in-vogue pop styles into a thrilling and unique electro-pop sound. Her music is indicative of the internet age, where a host of disparate styles and genres are only a click away, and as such her debut album No Mythologies To Follow is awash with nods to various contemporary oeuvres. Southern US bass music, Scandinavian pop and brash electro are all represented in equal measure. What’s more, her vocals are alive with a startling array of hooks, leaving most of the tracks bearing distinct potential as singles. With an emotional range every bit as wide as that of her vocals, Mø presents a riotous pop party where nothing is sacred and her only demand is that you dive headfirst into her electro-pop maelstrom.
The formerly esoteric collective have finally unleashed a statement of intent in the guise of ‘Busy Earnin’, a gorgeous exercise in Bee Gees-flavoured falsetto vocals, slap bass, glaring synthesizers and a generally sumptuous production. Their previously mysterious media presence stoked a huge amount of interest and hype which the aforementioned single, plus the likes of tracks ‘The Heat’ and ‘Platoon’, have more than lived up to. Capable of dispensing hooks with a veritable aplomb, the collective present a thoroughly modern sound palette with bass capable of shaking houses, balanced out by the bright tones of males falsettos. Each track is an invitation to cast off inhibitions and dance like no one is watching as the collective proceed to emit slinky synth-funk. Having recently signed to XL Records, home of pop giants Adele and M.I.A, their ascension to pop hierarchy seems a dead cert.
The potty-mouthed New York vixen may have garnered the public’s attention for all the wrong reasons after Twitter spats with a growing selection of celebrities, including, most memorably, Lilly Allen, it is no wonder the rapper’s music has taken a backseat. Yet, her sole release to date, the ‘1991’ E.P, offered a brash production and instrumentation to match the viciousness of the singer’s lyrical output. It was in-your-face and unabashed yet an extremely intoxicating mix of street-smart gutter talk and memorable dance hooks, meaning Banks was as likely to bring the good-time party vibes as she was to bring da ruckus. Label wrangles and mis-management means the world is still waiting for her debut album to drop but despite the fast turnover and short shelf-life of artists in the internet age, interest in Banks refuses to wane. She is simply too stubborn and interesting an artist to disappear without a trace.
Next page: Banks, Glass Animals, Sophie