“I’m empty when you’re gone.”

“Cheerleader” (Felix Jaehn Remix) by OMI | Yep, another one of those songs that came from nowhere and became a hit. But the surprise for me is just how big of a hit it turned out to be. I always thought I’d only hear this song, from Jamaican musician OMI, on Monocle 24 – this particular remix, in fact; the original was released in 2012 – but then it started creeping into pop stations in a bunch of places. The epiphany came last week, when my brother had control of the sounds in the car, and in a bid to avoid my parents from hearing his usual sweary rap songs, he played, in a row, Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids”, Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”, this song – a minimal yet good set, if any. Yep. My brother knows of a song I only thought I would know, because I didn’t think it would really break out. Maybe it’s me being snobby, maybe it’s me underestimating the Internet, maybe it’s me thinking it’s too sparse to go big. And then I thought of how we all assume pop music is generally terrible, and how they turn out to be actually good once presented in the right context. So. Are some of us not enjoying pop music, in all its relentless glory, because it’s surrounded by more relentless, tireless, on-turbo pop? Or am I overthinking this? [NB]


“We were born to get together.”

“Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon | I really never cared for Walk the Moon. I mean, they’re fine. They come on the radio – Canadians, in particular, seem to love “Anna Sun” – and I don’t get angry or anything. They’re just there. They pass me by. I’m not setting this song – the first single for the Cincinnati band’s latest, Talking is Hard – up as a revelation for me. It still isn’t. I still don’t care for Walk the Moon. But people are posting lyrics to this song on Twitter and on Facebook. I’m surprised, since it doesn’t seem to be a very prevalent song – I only heard it during the Jam 88.3 live blog early this week – or I am missing a lot of things. You know, I could also connect this to the whole indie-pop-acts-get-dancey “trend” I’m declaring… but no. [NB]

“Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”

“All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor | Let’s talk about how much of a hermit I can be. I know this song is shaking the charts up. It has been for a while now. But, until recently, I have somehow managed to avoid the song – not because I didn’t want to listen to it, but because the chance just never came up. I first heard the song during Reese Lansangan’s exhibit launch, when she, Seed Bunye and Rizza Cabrera (writing about them both this week) covered it. I first heard the original version in Singapore, in an attempt to steer the conversation away from Britney Spears, because I didn’t need an “Oops! …I Did It Again” earworm. I only really listened to the song last week, when I finally realized that the song’s yet another entry into the soul-pop revival songbook we’re seeing of late. It’s not a bad song. I am just surprised I have avoided it for so long. [NB]

“And it feels like I’m drowning.”

“Waves” by Mr Probz | I know, I am posting the original version, released last year, and not the remixed version, released this year and making, err, waves, at least in European pop stations. Mr Probz is Dutch, actually named Dennis, whose career almost was put to a halt when he was shot in 2010. He released his debut full-length, The Treatment, last year; it did reasonably well in the Netherlands. (It, however, does not have this song.) And then this Robin Schulz guy comes in and does the exact same thing he did to Lilly Wood & the Prick: take their song, remix it, and turn it into a huge hit. I assume he did it with permission this time. And now, “Waves” is inescapable, especially in the European pop stations I’ve been listening to lately. I guess that means it’s on its way here. Or has it already arrived? [NB]

“I love anything bad standing in my way.”

“Don’t Mess With Me” by Brody Dalle | This song – and Brody’s album, Diploid Love – has been out for a while, but for some reason this has been inescapable in the past few weeks. Have I been listening to too much New Zealand radio, perhaps? No, I swear I heard it in other places. Is it the Josh Homme connection? (Brody, former vocalist for the Distillers and Spinerette, is married to the QOTSA frontman.) Maybe. But, well, this catchy song with the very weird music video (I mean, it’s raining pills?) has snapped in place for me, and I must write about it now. [NB]