Lorde is back, Halsey collaborates with Nine Inch Nails, Caroline Polachek releases a pop ear candy and Future Islands becomes meditative. The summer of long-awaited returns from several artistes has been a rather dramatic one, as carefully curated in this playlist of pop comebacks.
“Comeback” is a term often used to describe K-Pop rostered schedules of new releases during the opening of a new music season. It is a term Hollywood is slightly afraid of (by no means should a Western artist proclaim marketing terms on social media) but is accurate to this story of new releases.
This year, Lorde takes the reins on the most heated debate about the evolution of a pop star’s sound — her new release “Solar Power” is by all means, a lacklustre follow-up to her explosive 2017 sophomore, “Melodrama”. On the other hand, Halsey returns with a Nine In Nails produced record (and somehow also an IMAX film) with a new sound that defies expectations. Two contrasts on how an artiste matures and how different the outcomes may be, despite past roaring successes.
Without any more banter, here are the top four songs from the summer releases of comebacks.
Lorde — Mood Ring
Give Lorde a break.
While the more passive, idiosyncratic new sounds of Lorde is a far-cry from her synth-heavy previous attempts, “Mood Ring” stands out like a gem it proclaims. Written as a satire on wellness culture, it comes timely as the month of August holds the record for the most witchcraft wellness posts appearing on my Instagram Stories. Now all someone needs is to make a clean mashup of this song with Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten”.
Halsey — Easier Than Lying
A Nine Inch Nails produced pop album isn’t a far cry as one might think. In fact we should be asking, why hasn’t anyone thought of this earlier? In Halsey’s new LP “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power”, each tracks holds the demeanour of a well-curated album effort that mirrors that of Radiohead’s “OK Computer” and Bjork’s “Homogenic”. It’s a triumph to see a pop star move towards the sound they have always wanted to do — especially since an overnight success hindered that development.
Caroline Polachek — Bunny Is A Rider
A pop comeback playlist can be boring too. With no new surprises in sound, just pure sonic bliss, “Bunny Is A Rider” is a pop comeback for Caroline Polachek’s solo musical project. Is it her best song to date? No. It lacks the inventive sounds on her full-length debut “Pang”. But it’s a great song nonetheless and deserves the due credit.
Future Islands — Peach
“Bittersweet” is the only word that best describes Future Islands’ songs. It’s always danceable, confident enough to move a whole festival crowd, but never associated with “healing” or “optimistic”. “Peach” demands otherwise, and is a clear evolution of a sound that works well just as a happy song, as it can be a sad song.
Once you’re done listening to the pop comeback playlist of the summer, click here to catch up with our August 2021 issue.
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